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Construction accident suggests issues with Brazilian Olympic infrastructure

The collapse of a new cycling path underscores worries about preparations for the summer games.

Will Rio de Janeiro be ready for the Olympics in August? A recent accident along the new Tim Maia coastal bike path outside the city is raising concerns that the country is rushing to finish stadium and infrastructure projects, according to Global Construction Review. The response from the city’s mayor, who was in Athens to attend the lighting ceremony for the Olympic torch when the accident occurred, only underscores the concern.

While the $12.5 million path, named after a famous Brazilian musician and built by the firm Concremat, wasn’t planned to be used for an official event, it’s one of a number of legacy and Olympic projects currently being built across the country.

The collapse of a section of the path, which killed two people, joins a string of bad news that has hampered preparations for the Summer Olympics: earlier this year, the leader of a large labor union said working conditions need to improve for massive stadium and infrastructure projects to finish on time, and a recent report released by the auditor of the Rio Olympic games revealed that 11 people had died working on projects for the games between January 2013 and March 2016.

Construction delays often get play during the run-up to any Olympics, and with opening ceremonies roughly three months out, it’s no surprise Rio’s readiness has been a major focus. Ricardo Leyser, Brazil's new sports minister, told the CBC that "Rio is 98 per cent ready."

But timing, certainly, hasn’t been in Brazil’s favor. Now occurring in the midst the Zika outbreak and economic and political scandals, the country’s big moment in the spotlight has become a difficult time to invite international guests (and additional scrutiny).

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