Olympic chaos in London

The Olympics are predicted to trigger a "perfect storm" of traffic chaos in London as millions set off on holiday, athletes and officials pour into the city, Ramadan begins and confusion reigns over the new Olympic road lanes.

As schools are break up for the summer, families seeking to escape London are slowed by vehicles ferrying teams to the Olympic village in east London. Many are taking wrong turns and athletes are complaining of four-hour trips from the airport.

They are also merging into a stream of Muslims flocking in the same direction to celebrate Ramadan, which began this weekend. The area around Olympic Park is home to about 250,000 Muslims and almost 100 mosques and vast crowds of worshippers descend on the communities for nightly prayer.

Local councillor Abdal Ullah said the influx of Muslims to the area would play havoc with Games road links and traffic hotspots.

Adding to the gridlock is confusion over newly painted Olympic lanes. Motorists are unclear as to when they come into force and some lanes merge into or run beside bus lanes, leaving no clear lanes for cars.

The 50km of Games lanes, which will accommodate 1300 vehicles an hour carrying athletes, officials and VIPs, will be in operation from Wednesday.

Earlier this week, American hurdler Kerron Clement tweeted that his bus journey from Heathrow to the Olympic Village had taken four hours. "Not a good first impression, London."

- Agencies

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