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    Streets becoming race-ready

    By JANEL STEPHENS
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published January 15, 2003

    ST. PETERSBURG -- Even though the inaugural Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is more than five weeks away, city and Grand Prix officials have already begun preparing the streets for the three-day event.

    As part of the agreement between the city and the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, concrete barricades were placed along Bayshore Drive Monday as the first step of a safety system that will protect spectators as race cars whip around the scenic bayfront.

    It will take workers about four weeks to have everything ready to go, including installation of cable and chain-link fencing, pedestrian bridges, grandstands and suites that will top the stands, said Tom Begley, general manager of Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

    The last phase will be to close down the roads to prevent traffic on the circuit, which includes Bayshore Drive, First Street S and a runway of Albert Whitted Municipal Airport.

    The event, scheduled for Feb. 21-23, is expected to draw a crowd of 100,000 during the three-day weekend, Begley said.

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