NEWS

Olympic works due by July

The government yesterday assured the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that projects crucial to the success of the Athens Games, including the suburban railway, the tram and public construction works, will be ready by the end of June. By mid-July, the main Olympic stadium complex will be handed over to organizers and the nearby Nerantziotissa station, which will link the new suburban railway with the existing electric railway network, will be completed. IOC Coordinating Commission chief Denis Oswald, who is leading a three-day inspection, met with government officials at the Culture Ministry and they decided on the swift passage of legislation covering a number of issues, such as the removal of billboards and how the city will operate during the Games. «It was a very productive meeting, which strengthened the IOC’s confidence in Athens’s ability to organize a successful Games,» Oswald said. He added he had received answers to all his questions. Oswald is to meet with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who has taken overall charge of the Olympics, this morning. He will also meet with opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou. He will then visit the main Olympic stadium and hold a news conference. Part of the massive steel roof of the stadium, one of two pieces weighing 8,500 tons each, continued sliding into place for a second day yesterday. By last night it had covered 36 meters of the 71 meters along the specially built tracks. It is expected to be in place later today. The whole roof, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, is expected to be ready by the end of the month.