Quintain has started the final upgrade works to Olympic Way with the project to replace the pedestrian walkway (known as the ‘pedway’) with an iconic new entrance to the National Stadium. The centrepiece of these works is the Olympic Steps, which form the final stage of a wider package of upgrades to the length of Olympic Way. The steps will be operational in time for the Carabao Cup Final in 2021 and the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, which will be held in June and July 2021 and hosted at Wembley Stadium.
The existing pedway was built in the 1970s as a bridge over open-air coach parks that no longer exist. Replacing the pedway with a set of steps has been a long-held ambition of Quintain and the London Borough of Brent due to accessibility restrictions from Olympic Way to the National Stadium concourse and compromised access across Wembley Park’s acres of public realm.
The Olympic Steps will provide a fitting renewal to the 365-day neighbourhood, dramatically improving the heart of Wembley Park. The removal of the pedway allows for a significant extension to the recently transformed Olympic Way so it can meet Engineers Way, uniting the east and west of Wembley Park with an inviting, distinctive and accessible public space.
From the opening ceremony of Brent London Borough of Culture 2020 to The Mayor of London’s International Busking Day, Olympic Way has played host to some of Wembley Park’s most notable community events. The removal of the pedway will expand and enhance this unique public space, supporting Wembley Park’s rich cultural strategy.
Underneath the Olympic Steps on the threshold of the National Stadium another flexible public space will be created, naturally lit by 36 giant pavement lights from above, uniting the two tiers of public realm.
Meanwhile, the Olympic Steps will improve accessibility for all visitors to the National Stadium. The programme of works will see four large new lifts installed at the National Stadium, each able to carry three wheelchair users at a time. The steps have been designed to meet industry best practice and will be rigorously tested prior to use at major events.
James Saunders, CEO of Quintain said: “The completed Olympic Way upgrades, including the iconic new Olympic Steps, will dramatically transform the arrival to Wembley Park and the National Stadium, creating a new and improved experience for spectators and fantastic new public spaces for our residents, shoppers and workers who come to Wembley Park every day.
“I am delighted we are starting work on this long-held ambition and look forward to seeing the finished product enjoyed by fans at the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, which will be held at Wembley Stadium in the summer of 2021.”
The main construction work starts in July 2020 and will completed at the end of February 2021, when the Olympic Steps will be operational for the Carabao Cup Final. Between March and June 2021 landscaping and fit out works will ensure the steps are fully complete and ready to welcome Europe for Wembley Stadium’s Euro 2020 fixtures.