May 19 2013 Latest news:
Friday, July 13, 2012
At least one so-called Olympics crisis has been averted, with the M4 motorway in west London reopening in both directions after emergency repairs.
The road, which is expected to be one of the busiest routes during the Games, was shut last Friday between junctions 2 and 3 after cracks were discovered on a viaduct.
But it was reopened to traffic just after 5.30am after engineers completed the “complex” repairs, officials said.
The works to the bridge supports of the Boston Manor Viaduct were due to be completed yesterday.
The hairline crack was found on a highly stressed section of bridge supports by engineers who had been carrying out other repairs on the busy section of road.
Vehicles weighing 7.5 tonnes or more are restricted from using the motorway between the junctions. A diversion route remains in place via the A4 and A312 dual carriageways.
The M4, which is the main route from London to Heathrow Airport and the west of England, was initially closed between junctions 1 and 3, causing misery for thousands of motorists.
It is expected to be one of the busiest routes during the Games because it links London and the Olympic Park in Stratford with Heathrow.
Labour MP John Woodcock described the reopening of the M4 as a “huge relief”, but said ministers needed to come out and confirm they were totally happy that the road is safe to use.
He told BBC Breakfast: “The whole country wants the Olympics to be a huge success so it is a huge relief that the road is open because of the chaos it would have caused with athletes arriving on Monday to travel to the Olympic Village.”
The shadow transport minister added: “There are real questions as to why this crack was found so late in the day as works have been going on there for some time.
“Given the scale of the problem, ministers need to come out and say they are completely confident the crack is fixed.”