Olympic preps slowly moving
Please don't even think of driving into London when the Olympic Games start in two weeks time. Hundreds of gallons of painted lines now mark miles of highway which ordinary drivers are no longer allowed to use. If you stray into one by accident you'll probably be shot on sight. These special lanes are for official Olympic traffic only. That means the thousands of vehicles that already crawl along our overcrowded roads every hour will now be travelling a heck of a lot slower because most of the major routes have been cut in half.
The railways aren't much better. Coming into London by train this week was a nightmare. The authorities were testing their grand Olympic plan at most of the big railroad stations. So we ordinary mortals, on our way to earn an honest living, were herded behind barriers and made to wait in line without any information while non-existent Olympic crowds got priority. It is no wonder that the people who run Government departments have told thousands of their civil servants to work from home during the Games.
Let me warn you about the airports. They're expecting a deluge of extra arrivals at London's Heathrow alone. Immigration delays are already so long that exhausted passengers have been giving officials the slow handclap. And your troubles don't stop at the airport.
As I speak, the M4, the main freeway from Heathrow into central London, is closed because they found dangerous cracks in a bridge. They're racing to fix it in time for the Games. Ominously, the Government says it's looking for alternative routes into the city. Well, I've spent forty years looking for an alternative to the M4, and believe me, short of a parachute, there isn't one.
Still, better to be safe than sorry. That's why the British Army is stationing ground to air missiles, capable of knocking a hijacked plane out of the sky, on the top of several residential apartment blocks near the Olympic village. On the ground, private security contractors haven't managed to recruit enough guards for the main venues, so at the last minute thousands of soldiers, just back from Afghanistan, have been drafted in to make up the numbers.
Which leads to the big question. Have you got a ticket? There are still more than a million available. A year ago we Brits were encouraged to apply for them in a frenzied lottery system. You stated what you wanted to watch and then a rogue computer offered you something completely different. My family applied to see rowing, and swimming. What we actually got was two tickets for an early round of women's weightlifting. It's not exactly beach volleyball.
This is Ed Boyle for CBS News in London.
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