Just a few hours ago an important milestone for Cape Town's Green Point stadium was reached as construction workers began the process of putting the stadium roof in place. Employing technology never before used on the African continent, the team plan to use radial cables to lift the structure into place.

Referred to by the City as the ‘big lift' the process can be likened to the tightening of the spokes of a bicycle wheel. Seventy-two radial cables will connect the steel compression ring that is visible above the stadium to an inner tension ring around the pitch. As the cables are tightened slowly and almost simultaneously by 72 hydraulic jacks linked to the outer compression ring, the 600 ton inner ring will rise off the ground until it reaches its final position, 34.5m above the pitch.

Set to be one of the most scenic stadiums in South Africa, and with the world-renowned Table Mountain as its backdrop, Green Point stadium is well on its way to completion.

Director of Communications for the Cape Town 2010 team, Pieter Cronje, stressed that this important milestone means a lot to the people of Cape Town. "Seeing the stadium structure and the work going on there gives people a sense of reality and a sense of excitement about 2010," Cronje said.

The next phase of roof construction is the installation of the steel trusses, to be followed by the placement of 16mm thick glass panels and a fabric membrane underneath.

The glass roof will cover the stands but not the pitch, giving a sense of light and upliftment to the massive 68,000-seater stadium.

Work on the stadium is on schedule for completion by 14 December 2009, when it will be officially handed over by the contractors to the City of Cape Town.

Interesting facts and figures on the roof:

Steel compression ring:
800m long
72 hollow sections
Each section 2.2m wide and 1.2m high
Total weight 1,140 tons

Radial cables and tension ring:
85-98mm diameter
Total weight 370 tons
Total length 7,400m

Total roof weight:
Approximately 4,500 tons