Major London 2012 Olympic Route Network road from Heathrow closed for safety reasons
Saturday, 07 July 2012
July 7 - Work is due to continue this weekend on the controversial Olympic Route Network (ORN) as the main motorway link between Heathrow, the official airport of London 2012, was closed to all traffic after a crack was found in a "sensitive area" of an elevated section.
The M4, part of the ORN, will be vital for transporting visitors into the city for the Games later this month with up to 80 per cent of arrivals involved in the Games due to travel via Heathrow.
The closure is part of continuing work being carried out to the Boston Manor Viaduct, just west of junction 2.
The Highways Agency said workers "found a further crack in a sensitive location which requires us to keep the viaduct closed until the repair is complete".
The work is scheduled to be finished on Thursday (July 12) but London 2012 organisers will be concerned that if it is not thousands of visitors will suffer major delays.
Unlike the rest of the ORN, which is not due to come into operation until July 25, Games Lanes on the M4 are scheduled to open on Monday July 16 as the Games Family - athletes, officials and the world's media - begin to arrive in large numbers.
Hairline cracks were discovered in some of the steel beams in March and since then restrictions on vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes have been in place.
"If they don't fix it before the end of July, then of course it would cause a degree of chaos," said Richard Tracey, the Transport spokesman for the Conservatives in the London Assembly.
"As LOCOG [London 2012] and TfL (Transport for London) have been telling us, people will be arriving at Heathrow for the Games before then."
The problem could potentially be a major problem to London 2012 officials.
Workman could tonight be seen painting the Olympic rings on dedicated lanes in London that will be available only to Games Family members when they come into operation on July 25, two days before the Opening Ceremony.
There will be 30 miles of Games Lanes in London, with the lanes forming part of the 109-mile ORN which links Games venues.
Variable message signs along the lanes will state that drivers will be able to use them until July 25, although TfL is advising motorists to avoid central London around the ORN and Games venues from mid-July.
Up to one million extra visitors are expected in London on each day of the Games and there will be up to 1,300 Games Family vehicles an hour travelling between key venues.
June 2012: Warning for motorists as London 2012 Olympic Route Network plans revealed
March 2012: London 2012 Games Lanes to be open to public at certain periods, reveals TfL
October 2011: We'll get athletes, officials and spectators to events on time during London 2012 says Transport Commissioner
August 2011: "There will be challenges" Coe admits as London 2012 transport campaign launched
July 2011: Exclusive - Traffic will be a problem during London 2012 but we will find a solution claims Oswald