Transformation work at London's Olympic Stadium has reached a new milestone after the first piece of roof panelling was fitted at the iconic venue in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Work on the cantilevered roof, which will be the longest of its type in the world, will be completed ahead of the five 2015 Rugby World Cup matches taking place in the Stadium next autumn, by which point new floodlights will also have been installed.
At 84 metres at its deepest point, the roof will cover every seat in the Stadium, improving acoustics and the spectator experience.
When complete, the new roof will be twice the size of the original at around 45,000 square metres.
"Installing the first roof panel represents another significant milestone in the transformation of the Stadium into a world class multi-use venue," said David Goldstone, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation.
"The overall spectator experience, whether that's at a football match, concert or other sporting event, will improve significantly and the Stadium will become a great addition to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which is already proving to be a top destination for world-class events of all kinds."
The lifting of the 1 x 4.4m roof panel, the first of almost 10,000 to be fitted to the Stadium, comes after several weeks of preparation works.
Eight kilometres of cable net weighing 930 tonnes was lifted and connected over a four-week period before 112 steel roof rafters, the longest of which is 38m, were lifted and secured into place.
The roof will be split into a solid rear section, made up of 6,300 panels, and a translucent forward section, consisting of 3,600 transparent polycarbonate panels.
The venue in the Borough of Newham will become the permanent home of West Ham United Football Club and the new national competition centre for UK Athletics in 2016.
"This marks another significant milestone on the road to 2016, when the transformation of this magnificent Stadium will be complete and it will be ready to host its first West Ham match," said Karren Brady, West Ham United vice-chairman.
"The roof is just one of the superb features that will make our new home one of the greatest stadiums in world football and a fitting legacy for the venue that did Britain so proud in 2012."
Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, added: "This is another important step in ensuring the Stadium is ready to offer a lasting legacy of world class and grassroots sport and benefits for the local community".
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