Work is surging ahead on the site of the London 2012 Aquatics Centre following the handover of the Olympic Park this summer. The ODA said today that 90 per cent of the buildings on the site have been demolished, thousands of tonnes of contaminated soil has been cleaned, work is underway widening the waterways beside the site and a contractor has been appointed to remove railway sidings for a logistics centre.
The work keeps the ODA on track to clear and clean the site ready for construction to start in Summer 2008, one of the ODAs Milestones to Beijing set out earlier this year. ODA Chief Executive David Higgins said:
We said that by Beijing 2008 the majority of the Olympic Park would be cleared and cleaned. On the site for the first Big 4 London 2012 venue we are surging forward towards this challenging milestone. Next summer we will be able to start building the Aquatics Centre which will be the Gateway to the London 2012 Games and will become an important base for elite British swimmers and a new swimming facility for local people in legacy.
Twenty buildings have been demolished on the 9.3 hectare Aquatics Centre site including garages, a large asphalt batching plant and a cement batching plant. Nearly 10,000 tonnes of contaminated soil on the site has been cleaned and sorted for reuse using a 50 tonne soil washing machine.
As part of the regeneration of waterways running through and around the Olympic Park, work is already underway to replace dilapidated river walls and widen by eight metres an 800 metre stretch of the River Lea beside the Aquatics Centre. Eighteen metre high pieces of steel are being pushed into the ground to build the new riverbanks that will become habitats for creatures and plants and enable better public access to the riverside during and after the Games.
The ODA has also announced this week that Balfour Beatty Rail Projects will design and construct 12 new railway sidings at Orient Way just outside the north-west boundary of the Olympic Park. This will enable the removal of 5km of railway sidings from Thornton Fields an area between the Aquatics Centre and Olympic Stadium which will become a key logistics site for the construction of both venues.
During the Games the Zaha Hadid designed Aquatics Centre, featuring a spectacular sweeping roof, will mark the entrance to the Olympic Park from Stratford. The Aquatics Centre will host Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Paralympic Swimming, Water Polo finals and elements of Modern Pentathlon. After the Games temporary seating will be removed, leaving in legacy a 2,500 capacity swimming venue that can be boosted to 3,500 seats, and local community and school swimming facilities.