2012 stadium rising as fast as questions on its future

Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:07pm EDT
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By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - London 2012 officials are delighted with progress on building the Olympic Stadium, but the big question surrounding the centerpiece remains how quickly and how much of it they will tear down once the Games are over.

The velodrome's sweeping roof is on, the diving pool in the aquatics center is finished and full of water while the athletes' village looks like a small town of high-rise blocks.

The east-London venue is still a vast building site with more than 10,000 workers and hundreds of construction vehicles scuttling this way and that. It will, however, look very different when two million wetland plants, currently under incubation in the Norfolk countryside, are introduced to the landscaping and when the thousands of young trees are bedded in.

Rising at its heart though, the 80,000-capacity Olympic Stadium is already the dominant feature.

The 14 huge floodlight towers are now in place and work will start on the installation of the roof next month. The structure is due for completion by the end of the year with only the running track and grass infield to be laid in 2011.

Standing in the middle it already feels more compact than many running-track venues and figures released by the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) state that fans in some stands would be nearer to the center circle than at Wembley Stadium.


For all the excitement about what will happen during July-August 2012 when the eyes of the world will be on the 400 meters of athletics track, the question on everyone's lips is "then what?"   Continued...

<p>The Olympic Stadium, being constructed for the London 2012 Olympic games, is pictured in east London, March 4, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Winning</p>