diamond geezer

 Monday, February 08, 2010

London 2012  Olympic update
  and Crossrail came too

With only 900 (count 'em) days to go, building work on Stratford's Olympic site continues apace. The stadium's up, and umpteen rows of terracing are now viewable through gaps in the outer wall of the arena. The swimming pool roof's up, and its undulating form dominates the trackside west of Stratford station. Elsewhere there are velodromes, pumping stations and athletes' accommodation blocks springing up all over, plus several more minor yet equally-event-critical structures all about. Short of an unexpected meteor strike, there's surely no risk of the infrastructure for the 2012 Games being delivered late.

Cooks Road, E15But now there's a new construction project in the area, immediately alongside, and what's more it's on a similar ginormous scale. It's Crossrail, more specifically the northeastern arm of Crossrail heading towards Shenfield, and it'll be burrowing up out of the London Clay just to the south of the Olympic Park [plans - pdf]. If you thought the Olympics were taking a long time to build (2007→2012), then Crossrail's schedule (2009→2017) is almost glacial by comparison.

You've quite possibly stood on the site of the portal where Crossrail trains will dive into the earth on their way from Stratford to Whitechapel and beyond. The precise spot is called "Pudding Mill DLR station", as plans require this quiet light rail outpost to be rebuilt (slightly to the south), then the original demolished to make way for giant tunnels. A big cut and cover trench will be excavated between here and the River Lea, about a quarter of a mile to the west, in readiness for the emergence of two tunnel-boring machines (which are due to be despatched from Stepney in 2013). It's a technically demanding project, not least because the tunnel's angle of ascent will be fractionally greater the usual legal maximum. This steep climb will allow Crossrail's tunnels to nip over the underground Hackney Wick Sewer (which is great news because it means those pipes won't have to be diverted and rebuilt within metres of my house as originally planned). They'll then ascend under the River Lea, out of the ground on the far side and over the elevated Greenway (East London's most important sewage outfall). An engineering nightmare, but absolutely essential if the project is to be completed to cost and on schedule. [more info, & map]

Cooks Road, E15Which leaves a lot of building work to do, and a Crossrail construction site is currently being cleared to the north of Stratford High Street. All those businesses on the Heron Industrial Estate who thought they'd been given a reprieve when Olympic bosses decided to relocate the 2012 Media Centre in Hackney Wick, they're all closed or closing. Grieve not for the tradingsheds and smelly wastemongers, but pity the wholesalers and manufacturers whose lifeblood is now but a rotting shell, or indeed completely flattened.

A stroll along Cooks Road - the first sidestreet to the northeast of the Bow Flyover - is now an eerie experience. I took the plunge on a work-free Sunday morning, and found the doomed ambience even more unsettling than when this was a semi-industrial backwater. I was initially bemused by the number of feral rat-faced hoodies stumbling dead-eyed down the street toward the local McDonalds drive-thru. But I soon discovered where they were coming from - a doorway leading round the back of the Continental Nursery Furniture warehouse, through which came the telltale sounds of heart-pounding beat-thumping techno. A few shadowy folk sat in their cars outside, I'm sure not all of whom were drug dealers, and they eyed me suspiciously as I wandered past towards a signposted dead end.

Barbers Road, E15After the last few locked gates and plenty of "we've moved" signs, the blue wall began. Crossrail's demolition team have been hard at work in Barber's Road, and this curving barrier hid all trace of the businesses that used to trade here. No sign of Cromwell Tool Hire, Jardine Motors nor the BOC Group, all of whom moved into renovated premises at the "Stratford E15 hub" less than three years ago, but all of whom have now been forced to relocate elsewhere. Their workspaces and offices are scheduled to become a sloping track-filled trench, although I couldn't quite picture this echoing cul-de-sac as anything other than a desolate demolition site. Faced by an impenetrable barrier I had to retrace my steps, past the dodgy ravers, on a lengthy detour round to the DLR station and main Olympic site at the end of the road.

Next week, as Crossrail's incursion ramps up, the River Lea towpath between the Greenway and the Bow Flyover will be closed off until Christmas. This is to enable engineers to divert the 400KV cables which run immediately beneath the towpath, thereby allowing the tunnel-boring machines to emerge in safety a few yards beyond. Joggers and cyclists will have to endure diversions for 43 weeks, with no doubt an even lengthier barricade post-Games once the big drills start to surface. Pity we residents on the E15/E3 borderline, for we face not one but two enormous building projects over the next few years. Those Olympics are only the half of it (and, alas, the fast track to Heathrow isn't going to be anywhere near ready in time).

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream