London’s drivers to get in lane for Games

London’s drivers to get in lane for Games

LONDON - Agence France-Presse
The Olympics started yesterday, two days before the opening ceremony as Britain’s women footballers kicked off the Games, but commuters in London suffered delays as reserved road lanes came into operation.

Britain took part in the first sporting action when Team GB’s women take on New Zealand in the Welsh capital Cardiff in front of an expected crowd of 35,000.

The Games lanes -- dubbed “Zil lanes” after the limousines that whisked VIPs past the traffic in Soviet times -- are designed to ensure Olympic athletes and officials get through congested London and to their events in time.

The introduction of the full 50-kilometer network for the first time caused long queues in the morning rush hour. There was a 15-kilometer tailback on the M4 motorway, the main road linking the capital to Heathrow Airport, the main point of arrival for the Games, said Transport for London (TfL), the city’s public transport authority. But the situation seemed to ease as the morning wore on.

They breathed a sigh of relief when a threatened strike by border and immigration officials today, the eve of the Games, was called off. The strike risked causing holdups at Heathrow on a day when thousands are expected to arrive.