With Mark Cavendish going for gold in the Olympic road race two weeks today, Surrey County Council will next week start deploying 42 miles’ worth of roadside barriers for that event plus the women’s road race 24 hours later, as well as the individual time trials on Wednesday 1 August.
With crowds running well into six figures expected to line the roadside in Surrey alone as the men’s road race heads out of London to tackle nine loops of Box Hill, the figures involved in making sure the event runs smoothly are mind-boggling – 6,000 people including volunteers and stewards, 5,000 traffic cones and 4,000 road signs, for example, with more than 500 road closures taking place in the county.
Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and the 2012 Games, commented: “We’ll be creating the largest venues of the Olympic Games from scratch which is a big job and these statistics hammer home the sheer scale of the task. Preparations have been going on for more than two years to ensure the Games in Surrey are a success.
“Staging sporting events on this scale will inevitably cause disruption. We’re asking residents and businesses to plan ahead and be prepared for road closures, parking restrictions and issues caused by hundreds of thousands of extra people coming to Surrey to watch the races.
“We’ve made all the information people need to help plan ahead available online at gosurrey.info. We’ve also sent newsletters to residents and businesses within 100 metres of the cycle routes. Please use this information to plan ahead and minimise any disruption.”
Surrey County Council aims to reopen most roads affected within three hours of the last race vehicle having passed in each event, but predicts that roads will be congested for some time after reopening and that public transport will also be busy.
Of course, if you’re over Box Hill way on the days of the road races and want something to do while waiting for that expected chaos to die down, you are most welcome to come join us at the Surrey Hills Road Race Festival.
The festival takes place on 28-29 July at Denbies Wine Estate, just off the A24. It's right next to the route and only a short walk from the Box Hill loop, so there's plenty of opportunities to see the race live. On top of that it's an official BBC Live Site, which means you'll be able to see the entire race on a BBC big screen, and there'll be masses of food and drink available on site too to keep you topped up through a long day of racing.
As well as all that there'll be a cycling expo within the grounds of Denbies Wine Estate, with some top brands showing off their wares and a load of stuff you can have a go at too. There's secure bike parking too, if you decide to wander over on two wheels. It should be a fantastic weekend of cycling-related fun, hopefully with a Team GB gold medal or two thrown in for good measure. Here's hoping...
The website for the festival is now live, and we'll be keeping it updated with all the latest news about who's coming and what's happening. As well as that there's a mailing list which we'll use to keep everyone informed about the event. If you want to get updates about the Festival, you can sign up on the event website.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.