Roads being widened for bike event

Roads to and from the venue for the 2012 Olympic mountain bike competition are being widened in a bid to combat transport concerns, event organisers have announced.

Improvements to the access on the two main single roads into Hadleigh Farm need to be completed by next summer when test events are set to be staged, but they will "still look like a country lane", Essex County Council's Stephen Castle said.

The Olympic competition, which is set to take place at the mountain bike course within Hadleigh Farm in Benfleet, Essex, on August 11 and 12, 2012, expects up to 20,000 spectators a day.

A recent first-time try-out of the course by some of Britain's top mountain bikers including under-23 rider Billy Whenman, 21, saw the athletes being delayed for up to an hour following line failure, which caused severe delays on a main commuter rail route into Essex.

Mr Castle said: "It is genuinely unusual for that train line to have problems. It is regularly one of the most efficient commuter routes into south Essex.

"It is used to handling large numbers of people for big events and commuters during the week.

"The majority of people (for the Olympics) will come by train and shuttle bus to the spectator area at Hadleigh.

"Basically, there are two main roads to the site - Chapel Lane for the Olympic family, broadcasters and organisers and the spectator entrance at Castle Lane. The work is being done now on the roads.

"The main concern we had from local residents is in maintaining the rural feel of country lanes and hedges while allowing two vehicles to pass each other."

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