The city thought it had a ready answer: an extension to its subway system, the Metro, known as Line 4, that would go from the beach areas, under all the car-clogged roads, almost all the way to the Olympic Park.
But with Brazil reeling from unprecedented political and economic turmoil, the plan hit a snag; it was meant to be ready in July, but organizers announced recently the timing would be a little tighter than expected.
Today, the subway station nearest the Olympic Park is a hive of activity, packed with workers doing what organizers say are tests on the equipment, but clearly also some construction too.
"We are completely sure that everything will be done by August 1. "Of course the schedule is tight, but we have 8,000 people working during the days and nights. Everything is on schedule." Rodrigo Vieira, secretary of transportation for the state of Rio said
Across the city, the sound of jackhammers is at times overwhelming, as the city moves as fast as it can to fix the last bolts and apply the final coats of polish, ahead of the Opening Ceremony on August 5.
The highways all the way to the Olympic Park are lined with last-minute construction; it's a dash to the finish line you often see ahead of huge sporting events, but one that has left some a little more disconcerted than usual, given the upheaval Brazil is going through at the moment.
Cabinet resignations, a bid to impeach former President Dilma Rousseff, an outbreak of Zika virus, a financial crisis - most countries could be forgiven for giving up even halfway through a list like that, but Brazil is fighting on.