UK & World News
M4 Reopening Delayed Amid Ongoing Repairs
The M4 motorway in west London could stay shut into next week, officials have admitted to Sky News.
The works to repair a potentially dangerous crack in the Boston Manor Viaduct, just west of M4 junction two, were due to be completed this morning.
But the Highways Agency said the final repairs had reached a "critical stage" and "due to the complexity of the operation more time than originally envisaged is required to complete the work safely".
It said that the road will now reopen "within the next few days".
But a spokesperson for the Highways Agency has told Sky News there are "no guarantees" the motorway will be opened in time for the first Olympics arrivals on Monday.
The motorway, which is the main route from London to Heathrow Airport and the west of England, was initially closed on Friday between junctions one and three after a crack was found in a highly stressed zone over bridge supports.
It was then partially reopened and is currently shut between junctions two and three.
Drivers planning to travel into west London via the M4 are advised to continue using alternative routes via the M3 or M40.
Roads Minister Mike Penning said: "I share the frustration of motorists at the continued delay to the opening of the M4.
"However, let's be absolutely clear, safety must be paramount and I will not allow the road to be reopened until this repair work has been completed successfully.
"This is a very complex operation and it is not possible to predict precisely how long it will take.
"I want to thank motorists for their patience and assure them that we are doing everything we possibly can to fix this problem and get the road safely reopened as soon as possible."
The M4 is expected to be one of the busiest routes during the Games because it links London and the Olympic Park in Stratford with Heathrow.
The motorway will officially become part of the Olympic Route Network on Monday, with one lane on each carriageway reserved for competitors, officials and sponsors.
Drivers have been warned the Olympic lane network will include temporary changes including suspended turns, stopping and loading restrictions and traffic signal timing alterations.