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Temporary athletics track secures Wembley as new national stadium


AN INNOVATIVE temporary athletics track design secured Wembley's future as the site of the new national stadium, it emerged this week.

The Football Association and the government approved Wembley as the national stadium just before Christmas. Finance for the project is expected to be in place by the end of March.

Original plans for a temporary athletics track involved construction of an insitu concrete frame support taking six months to erect at a cost of up to £20M.

These were rejected by culture secretary Chris Smith in 2000 (NCE 1 February 2000).

The newly adopted pre-fabricated system has been devised by fabricator Danco. It will cost £5M and crucially take only six weeks to construct, reducing disruption.

A platform for a warm-up track alongside the stadium will also be constructed, at a cost of £3M - a sum not allowed for in the original scheme.

As a greater arena area is required for athletics, the platform allows the pitch level to rise and engulf part of the stadium's lower seating tier. This will reduce the stadium's capacity from 90,000 to 67,500.

Should London ever host the Olympic Games, an 80,000 alternative could be made possible by changing the configuration of the lower seating tier.

'The system used will be an adaptation of that used on various sporting and public events such as the British Formula One Grand Prix and last year's Nelson Mandela tribute concert in Trafalgar Square, ' said Danco managing director, Adrian Dann.

The solution has also helped the FA retain lottery funding for the project. Around £20M of the original £120M lottery allocation was earmarked for athletics facilities.

Without suitable provision for staging major athletics events, this money would have been reclaimed.

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