EXCITEMENT is mounting for the arrival of the Olympic torch in Chester.
Last minute preparations are under way to ensure the flame is welcomed to the city in style tomorrow.
Colourful flags and bunting have been installed along Eastgate Street, Northgate Street, Frodsham Street, Foregate Street, Lower Bridge Street, Bridge Street, Watergate Street, Upper Northgate Street, City Road and Brook Street in anticipation of the torch’s arrival.
The Sheriff of Chester, Cllr Bob Crompton, together with Lache councillor Alex Tate, will welcome the torch from North Wales into Saltney at 5.45pm.
Roman soldiers will be waiting on the Old Dee Bridge to escort the flame into the city.
There will be bands playing on the Groves and in Grosvenor Park there will be a dance in the park performed by students from the University of Chester in
collaboration with Cheshire Dance.
There will be gladiators at the Amphitheatre, and a transfer between torchbearers will take place under the Eastgate Clock.
Roman soldiers will then escort the flame, marking the its entry into the Roman city.
Canon Jane Brooke from Chester Cathedral will meet an Olympic torchbearer at the Cathedral’s west door and the torch will be greeted at the Town Halll Square by Freemen of the at the city including Cllr Hilarie McNae.
Then it is on to Watergate Street and the racecourse where the 14th and final torchbearer will be jockey Jason Maguire riding the 2011 Chester Cup winner and 2012 runner up Overturn, which is trained by Donald McCain.
Jason will ignite the Olympic flame cauldron on stage at the celebration show on the racecourse at about 6.50pm.
The celebrations get under way on the central area of the Roodee at 5pm with the site open from 4pm with about 30,000 people expected to attend.
The show will provide five hours of family entertainment including music and dance provided by the relay organisers and sponsors, local community involvement featuring a massed choir of all ages, the dramatic arrival of the Olympic torch itself and the ‘Moment When’ dance and music finale.
Coca-Cola has announced it will bring Welsh rockers Kids In Glass Houses to Chester for the event.
On Wednesday the torch will leave the city from the Suspension Bridge at 6.50am.
Torchbearers will travel along The Groves, Souter’s Lane, turning into Pepper Street, Lower Bridge Street, Castle Drive, over Grosvenor Bridge and onto Overleigh Road where it leaves Chester at about 7.10am.
The Olympic Flame stands for peace, unity and friendship and it will be carried by 8,000 inspirational torchbearers, including 14 from Chester.
The London 2012 Olympic Games will begin on July 27 and finish on August 12.
All Chester city centre car parks will be open on May 29 when the Olympic Torch event takes place but no vehicles will be allowed on to the Racecourse.
Demand for car parks will be high and it is recommended to use park and ride sites which will be open until midnight. From 3pm all park and ride buses will visit the Little Roodee car park and all departures after 7pm will be from there.
City centre car parks will remain open until midnight on 29 May but Watergate Street car park will be closed. There will also be a series of road closures because of the event.
Nuns Road – Grosvenor Street to Black Friars – is closed from 10am May 27 until 10pm, May 30.
The following lengths of road will be closed from 10.30am to 8pm on May 29:
Northgate Street – Princess Street to Eastgate Street
Eastgate Street - Northgate Street to The Eastgate
St Werburgh Street - Northgate Street to Eastgate Street
Foregate Street - The Eastgate to St John Street
St John Street - Foregate Street to Little St John Street
Watergate Street - Bridge Street to Nicholas Street
Bridge Street - from six metres north of Feathers Lane to Watergate Street
Also closed to eastbound traffic from 5.30pm-6.30pm on May 29 to east-bound traffic:
Chester Street - from River Lane/Boundary Lane to Overleigh Roundabout, Hough Green
The following lengths of road will be closed from 6pm-7pm on May 29:
Handbridge - Queen’s Park Road to Lower Bridge Street
Lower Bridge Street - Handbridge to Grosvenor Street/Pepper Street
Castle Drive - Little Roodee car park to Lower Bridge Street
Souters Lane - Little St John Street to The Groves
The Groves - from 123 metres north-east of Lower Bridge Street to the Queen’ Park Suspension Bridge
Closed from 4.30pm to midnight on May 29:
Watergate Street - Nicholas Street to New Crane Street
New Crane Street - Watergate Street to Sealand Road
Sealand Road - New Crane Street to Stadium Way
Nuns Road - Black Friars to Watergate Street
City Walls Road - Stanley Place to Watergate Street