The sprint to finish Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Park in time for the 2016 Summer Games began in February, when contractors began earthmoving work and demolition of a racetrack at the site’s center. Construction of the main facilities will start in July.

“The short term is the biggest challenge of the undertaking,” says Tomnila da Costa Lacerda Motta, engineering manager of the Rio Mais consortium, which is in charge of construction. Odebrecht Infrastructure is the consortium’s lead contractor; other member firms include Andrade Gutierrez and Carvalho Hosken. Rio Mais was the only consortium that bid for the project. The public-private-partnership job’s budget is $690 million, with $270 million of the total coming from the Rio prefecture.

The demolition effort is taking place in the 1.18-million-sq-meter area that encompasses the racetrack’s bleachers, track, pit stop, guardrails and viaduct. Two of the existing eight bleacher sections have been left standing and will be integrated into the new structure.

The demolition’s sustainability goals call for 70% of the material to be processed, screened and re-used in the new construction. Recycled materials will be used in the sub-base layer of the pavement, among other uses. 

Project Phase
The U.K.-based consultant AECOM, 2011 winner of the General Urban Plan for the Olympic Park in 2011, is putting the finishing touches on the construction plan it will deliver to the consortium, with special emphasis on optimizing circulation areas and integration of public areas.

Other portions of the basic and executive projects for the Olympic Park are moving ahead. Rio Mais is concentrating on infrastructure work and sports facilities. The challenge is to have the project meet the Olympic requirements. “The development of the project is of the essence for us to put together a final schedule,” explains engineer Tomnila. Geotechnical evaluations are currently under way.

The Rio Mais consortium is also in charge of constructing the main press center and a 400-room, five-star hotel.

Adjacent to the Olympic center site, preparations are under way for work that will fall outside the responsibility of the consortium: construction of the International Broadcast Center building and venues for tennis, aquatics, cycling and handball. Remodeling is scheduled for the Maria Len water park and multi-use arena; both structure were used in the 2007 Pan-American Games.

The prefecture is conducting specific bid requests for those construction contracts. Consortiums already have been defined for three of them, with the others in development.

Rio Mais, which signed a 15-year contract with the prefecture, still must finalize planning for construction that is not specifically tied to the Games themselves but part of the post-Olympic urban plan for the area. Commercial and residential buildings also will be constructed in areas near the Olympic Park.