CMS Time Line to Hit Critical Dates

Miller Creek, looking east from the middle

Now that heavy equipment has finished work on the first phase of Canadian Motor Speedway ( CMS ) in Fort Erie Ontario, a schedule or time-line for the $400 million dollar project, a “what happens next” path, is being closely followed by developers and engineers.

Phase-One of the development, the re-construction of Miller Creek, began at dawn on Tuesday October 8, 2013, and in just over a month of dawn-to-dusk work,  Aecon Construction bulldozers and earth movers manoeuvred and repositioned well over 200 thousand tons of top soil and clay, taking full advantage of some gorgeous October weather.

November saw the main flow channel of Miller Creek excavation completed, and the banks of the creek grass hydro-seeded. The site will now be secured for the winter, with the planting of trees along the creek set for the spring.

Canadian Motor Speedway Partner and Executive Director Azhar Mohammad, who recently returned from a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series “Chase for the Championship” race, accompanied by CMS CEO Ibrahim Abou Taleb and Chairman Adnan Al Bahar, says just starting work and being able to see dirt move on the ground at the Canadian Motor Speedway site is something that’s resonating across the sport.

Miller Creek – East end of Phase 1, ready for Phase 2.

“Everyone we spoke to knows about CMS! Everybody is talking about the buzz in Canada in the motorsport industry!  Everyone has a detailed understanding of what we’ve gone through the last few years, and now they know the project has finally started.  CMS designer Jeff Gordon has been such a great ambassador for Canadian Motor Speedway”, Mohammad commented.

So what happens next in the CMS time-line? Mohammad says CMS is evaluating architectural firms from the best in Canada, to work with Jeff Gordon’s design, to get it down to formal blueprints.

“We should have an architectural firm selected by mid-February. To develop a detailed site plan will take approximately three months to reflect the approved zoning bylaw.” Mohammad added.  “The design will reflect the .7 mile oval and 2 mile road course with grandstands, as well as the multi-use aspects of the CMS vision… the hockey rink, the concert venue, and infrastructure to support McMaster University and Niagara College. We are looking to submit our final site plan to the Town of Fort Erie in  April , with a projected construction start on pre-grading and site alteration work by mid- summer ”, Mohammad added. 

After a small ceremonial ground breaking on site involving CMS top executives, Mohammad says they still plan a major, formal ground breaking in the spring of 2014.

“We really want the CMS fans and the public to be part of the celebration! We are definitely planning a memorable event that will involve Jeff Gordon, who will address the fans to thank them for their loyal support on what will be a very special day!”, Mohammad continued.

The formal ground breaking will green-flag eighteen months of construction of the sports’ first Carbon Neutral, and Canada’s first world class oval and integrated road course hosting a variety of racing platforms, notably stock car and open wheel racing, which is slated to be race-ready in 2016.

Tomas Tales: November CMS update


It’s been a little more than a month since heavy equipment fired up on Canadian Motor Speedway (CMS) land in Fort Erie, the site of the $400 million dollar project that will give Canada its first major league three-quarter mile high-banked oval and two-mile road course complex.

Progress on phase one of the development, the re-construction of Miller Creek, that will run behind the oval’s main grandstand, has been slowed ever-so-slightly by some wet weather in late October.

The plan was to have this initial work completed by the end of October, but the rain has pushed that ahead to the middle of November.

The photographs give you an idea of the progress.


The basin for the creek is being excavated, in preparation for grass seeding along its banks.

Having spent a good deal of time on site dealing with media coverage of CMS ground-breaking and construction, and to check on progress, the one thing that strikes you is the skill the Aecon bulldozer and earth mover equipment operators demonstrate.

Using every precious hour of daylight for efficient use of time, starting at the crack of dawn each day, they move around the site with big heavy machinery loaded with thousands of tons of top soil and clay with speed and dexterity you’d expect from someone driving a golf cart.

The only time they stop is to re-fuel from the large tank of diesel next to the construction office, and of course when there’s just not enough daylight left to move equipment safely.

It’s a beautiful thing to watch, and I have to admit the construction of CMS utterly fascinates me.

All of this is done under very strict safety guidelines.

Aecon’s motto of “Zero tolerance, zero harm” was loud and clear as yours truly and other CMS staff who visit the site can attest, as we had to go through a safety awareness and training exercise.

A hard hat, steel-toed safety boots, safety glasses and a bright orange visibility vest are mandatory whenever we’re on site.

Once grass seed of the banks of the first phase of Miller Creek’s re-construction has been sown, they will cover it with that green paper pulp material, that will be sprayed on to protect the grass seed over the winter.

Then the machinery will depart and heavy machinery activity on the CMS site will cease until the spring when the grass seed should have started to sprout.

Crews will then plant trees next to fish holding pools along the creek bank.

At the CMS offices over the winter, administrative work will continue, with a gala in the spring near the top of the critical planning path.

Construction of the oval, the grandstands and the road course will begin in early summer.

Stay tuned to your Raceline Radio Network affiliate for regular and exclusive updates on Canadian Motor Speedway.

It’s been an historic autumn for race fans, with many significant progress benchmarks still to come as we head into a new year.