Two of the world’s biggest sporting events are about to hit the famous city “trapped between the mountains and sea”. The FIFA World Cup in 2014 and Olympic Games in 2016 will have Rio de Janeiro buzzing and encourage millions of visitors from all around the globe to flock to the city; Rio has experience of this, of course.
When you think about it, Rio is an obvious choice for a major event because it has one every Lent: Carnival! The Rio de Janeiro Carnival usually sees around 2 million people lining the streets to see the various parades and performances that illuminate this already beautiful city. So infrastructure is obviously not a massive issue. As big as carnival is though, it is not the World Cup and it is not the Olympic Games so what is the city doing to prepare for these events?
The FIFA World Cup 2014
The most obvious construction relating to the world cup is the building and upgrading of stadiums in Brazil so it can cope with masses of football fans from all around the world. Not one of the 12 stadiums being used will go without an upgrade but an astonishing 7 of the stadiums are either brand new or being completely rebuilt. Thankfully for Rio de Janeiro the ‘Estadio do Maracana’ only needs minor upgrades so, unlike Recife or Manaus for example, the construction work will be relatively minor. The largest modification being made to Rio’s premier stadium is a roof that covers all of the seated areas: despite the risk of a major downpour in Rio during June/July being relatively slim.
The Olympics Games 2016
Brazil’s sports minister has already been quoted as saying that Rio wants to follow the “London model” when it comes to delivering the Olympic Games and, it has to be said, the London games were quite spectacular and infrastructurally sound; so how is Rio going to emulate London? Well a top class Olympic village is a good starting point and plans are already underway. A 62 hectare plot of land has been set aside in the Barra area of Rio for the construction of 32, 17 story, buildings which will contain just short of 18,000 beds. In a smart move by the Rio authorities, the majority of this construction will be undertaken by private companies who will convert the Olympic village into housing after the games, meaning less public money needs to be spent on the construction.
Transport links within Rio will also be upgraded for the games with a high speed bus link being developed; the promise of which was part of Rios bid. These buses will travel along special bus lanes that will connect Santa Cruz and Campo Grande to Barra. It is believed these buses will reduce travel times within the city by at least an hour.
It is almost impossible to estimate the cost of an unfinished construction project of this magnitude but for a small insight it is worth noting that construction firms from Britain alone have been commissioned with over £70 million worth work for both events.