KEEPING TRACK | Update on the StrathAyr track project - Part 2

13 Oct 2022
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

In our last update on the StrathAyr track project at Ellerslie we covered off what had been done since the project began in March in terms of the civil works completed by HEB Construction and what StrathAyr had completed by way of the track upgrade itself.


Today’s check-in provides a progress report as to what has been completed since that July update and what is planned to be completed between now and early in the New Year.

A minute with Martin

Click on the video below to hear from Martin Neville, project manager at StrathAyr, who has kindly offered to provide updates with behind-the-scenes information on the project.



The latest dirt

Our project team provides a progress report on how things are shaping up.

A recent snap showing how the track at Ellerslie is shaping up.


1. What has been done since the last update?

For reference, the total track area is approximately 67,500m2 with construction progress from the team (HEB & StrathAyr) now being:

  • Approx. 900m (or 47%) of subsoil drainage collector pipes have been installed

    • Subsoil drainage has not yet been installed in the chutes, home straight and from the Peach Parade Hill Bend to the new underpass

  • Approx. 1,400m (or 55%) of main stormwater drainage to the irrigation pond has been installed

  • Approx 1,050m (or 40%) of irrigation/sprinkler pipes have been installed

  • Blasting of the underpass and the ramps are now complete, with excavation of the underpass 85% completed and 4,300m3 (approx.) of rock excavated to date

  • Placement of the underpass precast box culvert units (each weighing 23.5 tonne and measuring at 1.95m in length) has progressed well since work on these started on 30 September with 53/55 installed at the time of writing and the remainder planned to go in week commencing 17 October 2022

  • With the 2022/23 earthworks season beginning last week, excavation for the pond has commenced. This process has started with approx. 3,000m3 of rock having already been blasted and excavated – meaning we have a new rock mountain!

StrathAyr track profile:

  • 7,500 tonne of gravel (which creates the base of the new track) has now been delivered; equating to 50% of the total required

  • 351 bales of peat moss (which helps create nutrients to support grass growth) have now been delivered; 396 bales are required in total

  • 2,235 bales of reflex mesh (which holds the profile together) have now been delivered

  • There’s now been 7,224 tonne of sand mixed with peat moss and 4,722 tonne of sand and peat moss material mixed with reflex mesh which will be laid over the gravel sub-base

Removal of old infrastructure:

  • Approx. 1,800m (or 70%) of existing stormwater drainage has been removed

  • Approx. 1,950m of existing irrigation lines have been removed, consisting of the entire inside irrigation line and 60% of the outside line

  • There has also been a significant amount of work done identifying the existing power and water services in terms of what is to remain and what is to go

2. What’s next to be completed?

  • Completion of the main storm water drainage works, with 45% due to be completed by mid-December

  • Bulk earthworks for the new irrigation pond and infield carpark

  • The course proper earthworks and laying of the StrathAyr track profile – the work starts from the 2400m chute and moves in a clockwise direction

  • Installation of the new course proper irrigation system and pump house

  • Underpass construction is planned to be completed by January 2023 with the focus over the next few months being to install Lusit panel retaining walls, complete underpass drainage (including soak-hole), waterproofing and road pavement

  • In terms of the pond, the focus there will be to complete the rock excavation and start excavation of clay and ash where approx. 32,000m3 of material is to be excavated.


Another snap showing what’s been going on at Ellerslie in recent months.


3. What’s gone well since the last update?

  • The main storm water drainage works are ahead of programme – despite the discovery of unexpected shallow rock in certain areas and Auckland having experienced an unusually wet winter

  • The underpass excavation works have progressed well

  • Project teams from Auckland Thoroughbred Racing, HEB construction, StrathAyr, Harrison Grierson, Cuesko (and others) have worked well together to come up with alternate, efficient design solutions when needed – often within short time timeframes – and, despite all the challenges and changes, things are still currently on target for an ‘on-time’ completion of the new StrathAyr track.

4. What challenges have been faced since the last update?

As everyone has been aware, Auckland has had a wet winter and early spring with 518mms of rain between July and the end of September. To put that into context, that is the most rain received in that three-month window since 1998. HEB Construction and StrathAyr have both found the unusually wet winter a challenge, however are doing their best to catch up now the weather is improving.

Another challenge, especially for StrathAyr, has been shipping delays which are a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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