SITE PREPARATION for the 2012 Olympics in East London will get out of the blocks later this year, when contractor Murphy starts a £70M tunnelling project.
Murphy is boring two 20m deep tunnels of 2.5m and 4m diameter to house power lines currently suspended from 50 pylons.
These would hinder construction of the new stadia and Olympic village, a spokesman for the London Development Agency (LDA) said.
A total of £200M worth of tunnelling will be needed to bury the power lines.
'Putting these power lines under ground is a huge project.
It will completely transform the feel of this area and underlines the impact that hosting the Games will have in east London, ' said chair of the LDA's Olympic Delivery Committee Lord Swarj Pau.
The contract award was made as London mayor Ken Livingstone this week issued a statutory direction, ordering Transport for London and the LDA to press ahead with site clearance, demolition and decontamination of the site.
The LDA was unable to say when contracts for the rest of the tunnelling and other site preparation work would be let.