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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By: Tom Degun

July 28 - Denis Oswald, chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission for London 2012, has warned that traffic remains the biggest obstacle to the smooth running of the Olympic and Paralympic Games next year.

With a year to go until the London 2012 Olympics begin, preparations for the event are at an advanced stage but there are still major concerns that roads in the city will come to a complete standstill when the Games takes place due to the influx of visitors who will use them.

"Traffic is difficult in every Olympic host city because you bring thousands of extra people to the city that have to move from one place to another," Oswald told insidethegames.

"But there is a bigger problem here than is some other city's as London is a difficult city for traffic anyway.

"So you have a situation that is hard to control.

"In order to counter that, you have to make very careful plans to make sure that everybody can get to venues at the right time, especially the athletes as there is no competition without them.

"So we are working with London 2012 and with the local authorities to find the best solution and I am confident this will work in the end.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) launched their £25 million ($39 million) scheme last year which is designed to ensure that athletes, officials and other members of the Olympic Movement are able to move comfortably around London during the Games.

During the Games, there will be designated lanes in areas around key venues such as Wembley Stadium in North West London, Lord's Cricket Ground in South West London and the North Greenwich Arena in South East London, better known as the 02 Arena.

There will also be lanes through central London and out to the main Games site at Stratford.

The Olympic Route Network (ORN), which will include measures such as closing side roads, banning turns and altering traffic light sequences, will comprise more than 100 miles in London and around 170 miles outside London.

The ORN will be used by 18,000 athletes and officials during the Olympics as well as 6,000 during the Paralympics, while others who are also eligible to use the ORN includes judges, referees and umpires, around 28,000 representatives of the media and 25,000 sponsors and their guests.

It remains unclear as to whether the system will work in practice but Oswald, an IOC Executive Board member, believes that London 2012 will be a fantastic event and said he is proud to have helped in the project as chairman of the Coordination Commission.

"With one year to go, we have a chance to look back and see what we have achieved," he said.

"It is very impressive.

"We have been happy to help but they have very good people in LOCOG and that explains why they are so well advanced at this stage."