International inspectors will lay the last piece of turf in the Olympic Stadium today as they begin a check-up of preparations for the London 2012 Games.
Former sprinter and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Frankie Fredericks, a four-time silver medallist and the 1993 200m world champion, will be among those doing the honours at the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.
Fredericks is part of the IOC co-ordination commission which is making its eighth London inspection ahead of the Games.
London 2012, still in the middle of trying to sell 6.6M Olympic tickets, can point to the launch of the Games competition and test event schedules plus the handover of the velodrome as major developments.
Completion of the building work at the showpiece Olympic Stadium, which began in May 2008, is a “huge milestone” for the £9.3bn Olympic project, particularly as it comes with an “exemplary safety record”, according to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).
More than 5,250 people have worked on the project since construction started in May 2008, with the workforce peaking at 650, and more than 240 businesses, from Devon to Scotland, have been involved with the stadium build.
More than 5,000 reinforced concrete columns were installed into the ground, up to 20 metres deep, to provide the foundations to support the stadium structure, and the cable net roof provides the correct conditions for the competitors and covers two-thirds of spectators. The roof is covered by 112 panels of white material, totalling 25,000 square metres, and a team of 23 expert abseilers fitted the fabric.
The stadium stands 60 metres (197ft) high above the field of play and has an 860-metre (2,821ft) perimeter. More than 800,000 tonnes of soil - enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall nine times over - had to be taken away and 33 buildings on the site had to be demolished before construction could begin.
The stadium will be lit by 532 floodlights housed in 14 towers to ensure the sporting action is lit well enough to meet high-definition TV standards. The top of the towers reach 70 metres above the field of play.
It took a 650t crane 14 days to lift the 14 lighting towers, which each weigh 34t and are 28M high, into place in March last year.
The stadium design and construction team has been led by Sir Robert McAlpine, with Populous as the architect and Buro Happold as the designer of the civil, structural and building services work. Hyland Edgar Driver were the landscape architects. The planning consultant was Savilles Hepher Dixon.
After the Games, the 80,000-seater stadium for the Games is set to be shrunk to a 60,000 venue for football, athletics, concerts and community use, and the new home of West Ham football club after 2012. West Ham’s proposals are part of a joint bid with Newham Council.