Extensive Olympic preparations should start to yield results this year says ODA chairman John Armitt
Last week we published a summary of our programme delivery baseline giving probably the most detailed description so far of the scale of works to deliver the venues and infrastructure needed for 2012, and the legacy benefits the large-scale investment will bring.
The level of detail we have given about the project reflects the significant progress made so far – it is only through the thorough planning work, procurement of key contracts, detailed design work, and key budgetary decisions made so far that we are now able to outline the programme in this level of detail.
The report follows the announcement of our “Milestones to Beijing” last year which outlined targets to be achieved by the Beijing Games, allowing people to judge progress against the significant investment that is being made. The publication of our programme delivery report sees us firmly on track to hit these key milestones.
But while we are exactly where we planned to be at this stage, there is no room for complacency. This report underlines very clearly the scale of the challenge ahead.
2008 has already seen work intensifying with the cleaning and clearing of the Olympic Park. Work to excavate and clean soil across the Olympic Park site will continue to accelerate in the coming months, as we create the ground levels needed for the start of construction.
Once the “site platform” has been created, we will enter the “Big Build” phase with construction beginning in earnest in the summer.
The start of construction on the Olympic Stadium will be one of the biggest milestones and will be quickly followed by the start of works on the roads, bridges and utilities infrastructure across the site as we start to create the “backbone” for the Olympic Park and the platform for future development.
Work beneath the Park on the powerlines undergrounding project is also moving forward. This week cabling work has been completed in one of the two tunnels beneath the Park and by the Beijing Games all of the cabling work completed, with the power set to switch underground later this year.
Behind the scenes the planning work for Games-time and legacy will continue; detailed designs will be locked in for key venues; and key contracts secured. The new London 2012 Business Network launched last week will ensure the tens of thousands of opportunities created throughout 2008 and beyond will be available to companies of all sizes.
If 2007 saw the Olympic debate centred on costs, hopefully 2008 will be the year where we can show the other side of the balance sheet – where the regeneration value starts to emerge as world-class venues and facilities spring out of the Olympic Park site and our plans for a benchmark 21st Century urban environment take shape.
This year’s Beijing Games will remind people of the excitement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and why the large-scale investment in east London, is something to be genuinely excited by.