Countdown to the Olympics!
With less than 50 days to go until the start of London 2012, Weymouth and Portland, and Dorset, is on track to welcome the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing competitions.
Road closures and restrictions have been announced for the period of the Olympics.
Weymouth and Portland is the largest Olympic and Paralympic venue outside London and up to 60,000 spectators and visitors are expected to visit per day. The Sailing competitions which will see 380 athletes take part are set to be a great sporting spectacle with strong chances of British medals on the UK’s best sailing waters.
The area will also be a hive of activity, with up to 15,000 people at any time able to enjoy the action from a free live site with two giant screens on Weymouth beach.
The 4,600 spectators each day with tickets for the Olympic Sailing will watch the competition from the Nothe Gardens*, an excellent vantage point sitting above Weymouth and Portland bays. This will be the first time Sailing has been ticketed during an Olympic Games and by ticketing the Nothe Gardens, event organisers will be able to manage spectators in the area safely and accommodate them in terms of transport, catering and other facilities.
Visitors will be welcomed to Weymouth esplanade and sea front which has undergone significant regeneration including the restoration of Victorian shelters, pavement widening, new highway lighting, new refreshment kiosks and bus shelters with real time bus information.
There will also be many free activities for visitors and residents alike taking place across the county as part of the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad. Weymouth and Portland will be playing host to ‘Maritime Mix – London 2012 Cultural Olympiad by the Sea’, the biggest cultural festival the region has ever seen. This will include the Battle for the Winds, a spectacular three day theatrical celebration, open-air mass choral performances and the Jurassic Coast Earth Festival. There is also the Bayside Festival which will host hundreds of bands and stalls with a Dorset flavour and the Olympic Flame coming to Weymouth and Portland on 13 July.
Over £120million has been invested in transport improvements in the local area. Dorset roads will be open and kept moving through a number of measures including traffic monitoring through the Dorset Traffic Control Centre and five dedicated park and ride sites.
A designated Olympic Route Network will keep traffic flowing. Sections of the A354 will be a no stopping, waiting or parking zone but Games lanes which are being used in London to transport athletes and officials are not planned in Dorset or on the roads between London and Weymouth and Portland.
Although access by cars in the town centre will be restricted, the town is fully accessible on foot and a team of ambassadors will be on hand to help visitors find their way around.
Paul Deighton, Chief Executive at LOCOG said: “We have been working hard with our partners in Weymouth and Portland to ensure we are on track to host the hundreds of athletes, thousands of visitors and of course local residents to the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing competitions. We are confident that visitors to the area will experience more than just top level sport, they will have a wider Olympic experience as they enjoy the huge amount of activities on offer in the area.”
Angus Campbell , Dorset Olympic Board Chairman said: “Hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing competitions is a unique opportunity for Dorset and Weymouth and Portland in particular. Ensuring visitors, residents and businesses are able to move around the county is a priority for us and we have invested heavily in the transport network.
“Dorset a wonderful place to be and the investment and improvements that we have made offer a splendid legacy and great business opportunities in the county.”
Olympic Sailing will run from Sunday 29 July to Saturday 11 August with 10 medal events. 380 athletes will take part. Paralympic Sailing will run from Saturday 1 September to Thursday 6 September with 3 medal events. 80 athletes will take part.