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Canary Wharf Station

Access to the new development at Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs in London's Docklands was the driver for the entire project. The new station, design by Sir Norman Foster, matches the high quality of the surrounding development.

It is expected to attract up to 40,000 passengers in the peak morning rush hour, making it one of the busiest on the Tube system. Most will walk in from the surrounding offices although there is a connection to the Docklands Light Railway and bus services.

Construction was always going to be difficult. The entire 280m long, 32m wide by 24m deep box is built in the old dock, so is effectively underwater.

While the station was always known to be on the project's critical path, three separate design changes meant work had to go on around the clock and several million pounds extra were spent to meet the latest opening deadline.

The first rethink was to install an extra cofferdam at the eastern end of the box. Uncharted dredging meant the original wall had insufficient toe in and moved whenever the diaphragm wall crews went near it.

The next redesign was prompted by the cancellation of phase two of the Canary Wharf development, without which the north edge of the box was effectively untied. Designer Posford Duvivier had to stiffen the open portal frame structure to resist twisting.

Finally, the project team had a last minute rethink and ordered that steel keyways in the diaphragm walls resisting uplift be replaced with 163, 1.5m diameter tension piles running around the perimeter.

To meet the now compressed programme, the contractor had to negotiate with the local authority, Tower Hamlets, to introduce a night shift. However, around one year of delay was eventually clawed back so that the station, complete with its distinctive glazed canopy entrance and banks of escalators, opened in time to meet the late autumn revised programme.

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