The first of the London 2012 traffic lanes on trunk roads across the capital has opened early today on the M4, as athletes and Olympic officials begin arriving for the Games ahead of the opening ceremony in 11 days’ time. Heathrow airport is gearing up for an initial influx of members of the ‘Games family’ today, and their journeys into central London are intended to be eased by the Olympic lane on the M4 motorway.

It will be in operation from 5am until 10pm, with anyone found to be contravening the temporary restrictions facing a £130 fine.

The expected simplicity of the journey on the M4 will be in stark contrast to the problems commuters have experienced across west London in recent weeks, when the same motorway was closed for emergency repair work to a bridge.

It only reopened last Friday.

Some reports have suggested Heathrow airport could experience its busiest day in history today.

Airport operator BAA is said to have predicted almost 250,000 arrivals and departures – around double the usual number.

The opening of the first lane comes amid reports that officials would consider scrapping the plans, if major traffic chaos and additional queues are caused by the introduction of the priority access.

The majority of lanes will be in operation from July 25th, two days before the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London.

Some athletes expected to arrive at the newly-opened Olympic Village include swimmers, divers and footballers – whose events are among the first to get under way next week.



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