NEWS

Olympic venue projects take on a new image

In the next few days, the two arches that are to soar over the Olympic Stadium roof are to begin sliding into position, bringing some relief to the government that has found itself assaulted by a barrage of negative reports in the international press. The main Olympic stadium complex is just a small part of the heritage left by the previous government when it handed over a number of projects that are running to very tight deadlines. Still, the latest photos of the stadium show a considerable improvement over those this newspaper published just a couple of months ago. Given the technical difficulties involved in moving the arches, everyone will be holding their collective breath. Making sure everything will work to plan has meant a slightly longer delay. Meanwhile, work on the surrounding area – to a design by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who also designed the stadium roof – has been disappointingly slow. Construction teams are also racing against the clock to finish other crucial Olympic projects such as the extension of Kifissou Avenue to the coast, the suburban railway and the tram service. Particularly at the intersection of Kifissou and Poseidonos Avenue, traffic adjustments have hindered progress on the site. Work on the tramlines has closed one of the access roads to the coastal highway, and more traffic confusion is expected before work is completed. Other venues present a different picture, such as the Schinias Rowing Center, one of the first projects completed for test events last August. After an initial evaluation of the situation it has inherited, the government is now focusing on areas that are over budget, although at this stage any margin for reducing costs, estimated at hundreds of millions of euros in excess of original estimates, is somewhat limited.