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Key coastal road expansion linking southern Rio to Barra Olympic Park opens

Two-lane elevated highway will increase traffic capacity by 30 per cent and be used for Olympic Lanes during Rio 2016 Games

Key coastal road expansion linking southern Rio to Barra Olympic Park opens
The new road runs parallel to an existing elevated coastal highway (Photo: Rio City Hall/Cidade Olímpica)
The expansion of a key coastal road system that links the main venue cluster for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games with the famous tourist districts of Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana was inaugurated on Saturday (28 May).
A new 5km (3.1 mile) two-lane elevated road has been built parallel to an existing two-level road that straddles the ocean in the neighbourhood of Joá. Two new tunnels have been dug through the hills that separate the neighbourhood of Barra da Tijuca, home to Barra Olympic Park, from the rest of the city.
Known locally as the Elevado do Joá, the road offers drivers breathtaking views of Rio de Janeiro's southern neighbourhoods, but has often suffered from congestion during peak travel times. The new section, along which the first cars travelled on Saturday, will increase traffic capacity on the route by 30 per cent and reduce journey times by as much as 60 per cent, according to the city government.
The road emerges from the tunnels into Barra da Tijuca (Photo: Rio City Hall/Cidade Olímpica)
From 31 July to 22 August, covering the period of the Olympic Games, two lanes will become 'Olympic Lanes', which are reserved exclusively for the transport for accredited personal, including the athletes and officials.
Barra is one of Rio's newest neighbourhoods. Located in the west of the city, the region was extensively developed in the 1980s and many residents moved there from the traditional districts in southern Rio. Around 85,000 vehicles per day use the Joá route every day to get from Barra to southern and central Rio and back.
During Rio 2016, Barra Olympic Park will be the heart of Games with its nine venues hosting 16 Olympic and nine Paralympic sports, alongside the Main Press Centre and the International Broadcast Centre. 
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