Athens hurries to finish construction in time for Olympics

The Olympics are set to begin in Athens Aug. 13, but several construction projects have to be finished before the opening ceremonies can begin. While Olympic officials are saying all the delayed projects will be completed by summer, some plans have already been cancelled.

One of the largest projects that is far behind schedule is the $136 million, 304-meter, steel-and-glass roof for the main Olympic stadium, which will be ready less than a month before the Games if work goes as scheduled. Another project vital to the Olympics is a suburban rail line that links the airport to the stadium and to the Athens metro system. According to reports from CNN, the rail line project was scrapped, although officials still say they hope to complete it by mid-July.

“We are confident that everything is still possible,” International Olympic Committee president Jaques Rogge told the Associated Press. “And, if it’s work at the same rhythm in the next months, I think everything will be finished on time.”

Cancelled projects include a roof over the Olympic swimming pool and landscaping along the Olympic marathon route.

While the Olympic committee is hurrying to complete some of the larger projects, about three-fourths of the projects are more than 90 percent built, according to officials. A soccer field in Piraeus and the main stadium are the least finished.

The Olympic committee blames the local government for the delays in construction. In 2000 the government changed hands and many projects were postponed. To make sure all current projects are completed in time, Greece’s new prime minister took personal responsibility for their completion.