Rio de Janeiro’s Joao Havelange Stadium is only six years old and is due to host games at the 2016 Olympics but now structural problems with its roof have forced the mayor to shut the down building indefinitely.
The stadium is currently leased to a local football club and is Rio’s main football venue while the famous Maracana stadium undergoes refurbishment work in preparation for next year’s World Cup.
Embarrassed Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes told a news conference that he had been told about the structural problems at the stadium and that it wasn’t acceptable.
“I asked if this represented a risk for spectators and they told me it did, depending on the wind speed and temperature,” he said.
“On that basis, I immediately decided to close the stadium until we had more details.”
He confirmed that those responsible would be held to account.
The stadium is covered by a huge 3,300-tonne metallic suspended roof which is supported by four complex supporting white steel arches – designed in a rhythmic repetition of irregular forms – and cable-stayed strings. The roof also has an environmentally sustainable design which captures rainfall to water the grass field. It appears to hang in mid-air, and it is here that the issues appear to lie.
The engineering of the steel structure was carried out by a number of different companies. The basic metallic casing structures were engineered by Project Alpha Company, while executive project engineering was provided by Andrade Rezende. TAL Project supplied the consulting and verification.
The stadium’s closure is an embarrassment for Brazil as it prepares for its two huge sporting events, say correspondents.
The stadium faced problems during its initial construction, opening both late and over budget in 2007. The Mayor’s office estimated in 2003 that the total construction cost would be of R$60 million (US$30 million) but the actual cost was 533 per cent higher.
The authorities have also acknowledged delays in work on the Maracana and a funding problem at another stadium, which is set to host the opening match at the World Cup.