Work resumes at stadium hosting World Cup opener
SAO PAULO (AP) — Work is back at full speed at the stadium hosting the World Cup opener after labor officials allowed workers to return to part of the construction site that was closed because of safety concerns.
Labor ministry officials inspected the stadium on Friday and said it is safe for workers to resume installing the temporary seats needed for the June 12 inaugural match.
The installation had been halted March 31 after a worker’s death at the Itaquerao. Part of the site was cleared on Monday, but officials said additional safety measures were needed.
Fast Engenharia, the company in charge of the temporary structures, installed protective netting for the workers and officials said they were satisfied with the solution.
The Itaquerao was already behind schedule, but local organizers said this delay will not keep the stadium from being finished in time for the Brazil-Croatia opener.
“Although work was interrupted for nearly two weeks, Fast is committed to delivering the temporary stands within the previously agreed timetable, with its completion expected in the first 15 days of May,” the company said.
About 20,000 temporary seats are being installed behind the goals to increase the stadium’s capacity to nearly 70,000 for the opener.
The Itaquerao was one of the six stadiums that were not finished by the end of last year as wanted by FIFA. Local organizers hoped to have it ready by the end of April, but football’s governing body said it expected it completed only in mid-May, about a month before the opener.
Organizers said most of the delay was caused by the crane collapse that killed two workers late last year, when work was about to be finalized. The crane was hoisting a giant roofing structure that only recently was removed from the site of the accident.
Two other stadiums remain under construction in other parts of the country — one in the wetlands city of Cuiaba and another in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba. Nine have been officially inaugurated, but infrastructure work around most of the venues remains far from over.
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