With another three and a half years still to go until the 2012 London Olympics and with the Beijing Games ending just a few months ago, the new Olympic stadium is already beginning to take shape.

The 80,000 seater stadium in Stratford, east London, will be one of the largest in Europe, though, after the Olympics, its capacity will be reduced to 30,000.

It will cost a whopping £469 million (around US$900 million), put that's nothing compared to the cost of the new Wembley Stadium in north London, which cost almost £1 billion ($2 billion).

Local east London professional sports teams are vying with one another to make the stadium their new home after the Olympics, including the football teams West Ham United and Leyton Orient, the rugby league team London Skolars and the rugby union teams London Wasps and Saracens.

London will be the first city to host the Summer Olympics three times, having previously hosted them in 1908 and 1948.

The wider view: Construction on track as 2012 Olympic stadium starts to take shape

By Mail On Sunday Reporter
03rd January 2009
Daily Mail

The 2012 Olympic stadium is beginning to take shape in the Lower Lea Valley in Stratford, East London.

The 40-acre site at the south of the Olympic park is five times the size of the Houses of Parliament.

This picture, taken last week from a helicopter 900ft above the former industrial land, shows it flanked by the River Lea, towards the top of the shot, and the City Mill River at the bottom.

On track: The 2012 Olympic stadium taking shape in Stratford, East London (click on picture to enlarge for a better view)

How the Olympic stadium will look

Five footbridges will cross the water to give access to the stadium. Building of the first began recently.

The Olympic swimming pool will be to the north of the stadium, between the two rivers.

Construction of the stadium, designed by architects Sir Peter Cook and HOK Sport, started last May and is believed to be costing £469million.

Its foundation is nearing completion, with more than 3,500 of the 4,000 permanent piles installed.

It will contain 10,000 tons of steel Ė the lightest Olympic stadium to date.

More than 800,000 tons of soil were removed to create the construction platform for the arena. More than 100 columns, each 16ft tall, have also been built to support the podium of the stadiumís west and south stands.

There will be 25,000 permanent seats in the lower part of the stadium. A further 55,000 spectators will be accommodated in a lightweight steel upper tier. When the Olympics is over, this will be removed and the arena will become a national athletics stadium with a sports training, science and medicine centre.

A thousand construction workers are based at the stadium site. Its completion is expected in summer 2011 to allow for a year of test events before the Games begin. Featured in our picture are:

1 A temporary rail tunnel.
2 A Docklands Light Railway terminus at the southern tip of £210million Stratford International station.
3 Stratford regional station.
4 Main London rail line going
over botanic gardens and a market area.
5 A concrete mixing plant that will manufacture the structures to support the permanent seats. The concrete is being supplied from here to reduce lorry nuisance for neighbours.
6 Greenway public footpath and cycle track.
7 Offices for the Team Stadium construction consortium.
8 Blue hoarding securing the site.
9 Old Ford Lock, which used to appear in the background on the Big Breakfast TV programme.
10 The 3,000ft-circumference stadium, which, at 175ft will be higher than Nelsonís Column. The eight green tower cranes, each between 160ft and 200ft high, are in place for the concrete and steel work and roof erection. The cable-supported roof will cover 260,000sq ft and shelter two-thirds of the spectators.

Last edited by Blackleaf; Jan 4th, 2009 at 02:07 PM..