London - The main Olympic road leading into London from Heathrow Airport may have cracked as a result of repair work, the London Evening Standard newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The paper said that engineers were "fighting" to mend the road, a key Olympic route into the British capital, before the introduction of Games lanes on Monday.
According to the paper Mr Mike Penning, Britain’s junior transport minister, visited the motorway on Tuesday and observed that the crack, which had prompted the closure of the highway, could be the result of road works.
The resultant chaos has left west London gridlocked since Friday, the newspaper added.
During his visit to the motorway, which remained shut for six miles, Penning said the crack on the M4 flyover that caused the shut was not there before.
It was a "brand new crack, possibly due to the work we were doing", the paper quoted the minister as saying.
Mr Derek Turner, the Director of Delivery and Development of the Highway Agency, explained that the new crack was a two-and-a-half inch deep gash in the welded supports of the flyover.
He said: "The crack wasn’t there before and was growing, which caused a hiccup in the repair process."
The bridge is supported by 10 foot-wide concrete pillars and underpinned by a lattice of steel girders.
The Evening Standard said workmen were grinding down the cracks and filling them with reinforcement plates.
It quoted Penning as saying that it would be a "catastrophic failure" if the bridge was left damaged, and that engineers wanted to fix it as soon as possible.
The M4 is expected to be one of the busiest routes during the London Summer Olympics because it links the city with the Olympic Park in Stratford and Heathrow, the Games official airport.