Footes Lane track upgrade off the blocks next week
A PROJECT expected to cost around £950,000 to develop Footes Lane into a full 400m eight-lane athletics track will begin next week.
The track, infield and some of the surrounding land will be handed over to the contracted company on 20 May after the final big event of the football season, the 2019 Muratti, has taken place.
It is then scheduled to reopen at the beginning of October.
After a detailed tendering exercise, Education, Sport & Culture has appointed UK-based Agripower Ltd as contractor of the main work – who specialise in design, construction and maintenance of sports surfacing.
Committee president Matt Fallaize said he was looking forward to the start of the project.
‘A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to make this important project a reality.
‘We have worked closely with the main users of the facility to try and ensure they are inconvenienced as little as possible, although we are aware that with any project of this size and scope there are bound to be areas of give and take.’
Deputy Fallaize said because Footes Lane is the only track of its kind on Guernsey, four lanes of the 100m home straight will still be available for high-level competitors prior to athletes leaving for this year’s Island Games in Gibraltar.
Athletics development officer Tom Druce said Guernsey Athletics were pleased the competing athletes had been taken into account when planning the work.
‘Replacing and upgrading the track will make it a truly inspirational venue,’ he said.
‘Extending the track to eight lanes increases the training opportunities for athletes, in particular the growing number of young people embracing the sport, making it a great facility for not only them but for future generations as well.’
The work will include replacement of the current track surface with a non-porous surface to improve maintenance and performance, relocation of the steeplechase jump to inside the track and metal pedestrian barriers and pavement around the outside of the track with a retaining wall along the 200m bend.
The throwing cage will be replaced and a competition shot put circle will be installed in front of the stand.
Although it was re-coated in 2001 and 2013, the current track surface has been largely untouched since being laid in 1991 and the project is primarily a response to this well-used sports facility nearing its end-of-life.
Athletics is a popular island sport with a history of hosting off-island competitors and the new track surface will be installed and ready for the 2021 Natwest Island Games.
Additional work is scheduled for next year to look at maintenance and improvement of the Garenne stand and its facilities.