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SBD Global/July 13, 2012/Olympics

Olympics Arrivals May Face Travel Delays As The M4 Undergoes Repairs

Olympic athletes arriving at Heathrow Airport face "potential transport delays" after the Highways Agency said that it was unable to guarantee that urgent repairs on the M4 motorway "would be completed," according to Esther Addley of the London GUARDIAN. The motorway connects Heathrow to London. The Highways Agency said repairs to a damaged viaduct, due to be completed by Thursday, had reached a critical stage and that "due to the complexity of the operation, more time than originally envisaged is required to complete the work safely" (GUARDIAN, 7/12). In London, James Hall reported that a Highways Agency spokesperson said that "the lane will only open on Monday if the repairs are successful." If the route does not open, then an alternative route along the A4 will open instead (TELEGRAPH, 7/12).

BASIC TRAINING: In London, Alan Travis reported that temporary border staff hired to shorten the passport queues at Heathrow and other London-area airports "have no immigration background or experience, and have only received basic training." An extra 500 staff are to be drafted in to help "ease congestion in immigration halls" from this weekend. Borders and Immigration Chief Inspector John Vine warned that temporary staff "process passengers more slowly while asking fewer questions" (GUARDIAN, 7/12). Also in London, Kuchler & Warrell reported that some staff "were concerned about the potential risks of using staff with no immigration background or experience" to check passports during the Olympics and after. Vine said it was largely a "very positive" report and that many of his recommendations had been accepted by the Home Office (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/12).
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