November 19 - The Maracanã, the iconic stadium due to host the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Olympics, will be ready in late February next year although a quarter of the work remains to be done, the chairman of the company building it promised today.
Construction teams are working on the site in shfits 22 hours a day with the focus now on the installation of a new roof, potentially one of the most difficult parts of the whole project.
The stadium, which is being revedeloped at the cost of $414 million (£260 million/€324 million), has to be ready for June next year when it will be one of six venues used to host the Confederations Cup, the warm-up tournament for the 2014 World Cup.
Maracanã is due to host three matches, including the final on June 30.
The very first match when it is reopened is due to be a friendly featuring Brazil playing England on June 2.
The original stadium, which was finished in 1950 in time for the last occasion Brazil hosted the World Cup, was demolished in 2010 so the renovation could take place.
"In the last three months a few days, we will work harder to complete the 25 per cent of the work," said Icaro Moreno Junior, chairman of Empresa de Obras Publicas (Emop), an agency of Rio de Janeiro's Construction Department, who are undertaking the work.
"We willl have to do around six to seven per cent per month, but we will deliver the Stadium on time."
At present, a steel structure is being laid to support the canvas roof made of Teflon and glass fibre.
The 68.4 metre long canvas, the largest in the world, will cover 76,000 of the 79,000 seats in the Stadium.
The old awning covered less than 40 per cent of the seats.
Next week the structure is due to be lifted by 120 hydraulic jacks before, with the help of professional climbers, adjustments will be made on the highest and most critical parts of the structure before the canvas is stretched.
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