Design and build contractor John Laing started work on the £114M redevelopment of Cardiff Arms Park almost as soon as the dust had settled on the Wales versus England rugby international last March.
The old 53,000 seater stadium has since been demolished and neighbouring buildings are also to be taken down to make way for the new 73,500 seat arena. Work on the new superstructure is due to start this month.
Funding includes a £46M Millennium Commission grant and loans from Barclays Bank. Financial viability will depend on revenue from ticket sales, catering facilities and a new Welsh Rugby Union museum.
The new stadium will be the first in Britain to have a retractable roof, enabling the Welsh Rugby Union to stage matches in all weathers.
Architect for the project is Lobb Partnership, designer of the main stadium for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. It is working with WS Atkins which is structures consultant to Laing. Work is being organised by American project manager O'Brien Kreitzburg which oversaw construction of the facilities for the Atlanta Olympics.
Completion will be phased during the first half of 1999. The new Millennium Stadium will be fully open in time for the Rugby World Cup finals in May 1999.