London mayor Boris Johnson has said 2010 is set to be a “huge year” for the £15.9bn Crossrail project with main construction works beginning in earnest.
Preparatory work on the tunnel entrance at Royal Oak in West London will start in January and, by the end of 2010, construction at all new central section stations will have started along with work underway on other tunnel portals and shafts. The Tunnelling Academy will have opened for admissions and work on the RSPB wildlife reserve at Wallasea Island will be underway. Crossrail will also have appointed its key tunnelling contracts in anticipation of tunnelling work commencing in 2011.
“Next year is set to be a huge year for Crossrail, with full construction getting underway on the railway that will transform the Capital. It is the biggest transport infrastructure project in Europe, and will deliver at least £20bn in jobs and economic benefits to London,” said Johnson.
“Every inch of London will benefit from the jobs, new transport links, increase in capacity, and easing of congestion that Crossrail and the Tube upgrades will bring. Together these critical investments will make life better for millions of Londoners and visitors, and will ensure that London retains its position at the summit of world cities.”
Transport minister Sadiq Khan has also backed the project. “As full construction work starts on Crossrail next year, the first of 14,000 construction jobs will be created, primarily among the unemployed and communities living along the Crossrail route.
“In the six months since the first steel pile was driven into the foundations of the new Canary Wharf Crossrail Station, I’ve seen Britain’s most ambitious rail project in decades begin to take shape on the ground.
“In 2010, London’s commuters can now look forward to seeing a flurry of activity at Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Paddington and many other sites across the route - work designed to benefit millions of people and leave a legacy for areas throughout London and the South East for generations to come.”
Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan said: “Over the past year the momentum driving Crossrail has been unstoppable and we are in a terrific position to move on to the main construction of the railway in 2010. Work is now underway at Canary Wharf, Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road stations with construction at the remaining stations on the central section route beginning next year. We have recently announced the short list for our tunnelling contracts, with contracts due to be awarded in mid-2010, in anticipation of tunnelling starting in 2011.”
Crossrail work next year:
Tottenham Court Road
Demolition work at the Astoria site got underway in May and is now complete with demolition due to get underway at the Goslett Yard site shortly. Main construction work for the redeveloped Tube station will get underway in early 2010.
The rebuilt Tottenham Court Road station will provide a ticket hall nearly six times the current size, step-free access from the street to the platforms, new escalators to the Northern line, an interchange with Crossrail services and a new landmark plaza outside Centre Point.
Construction of Crossrail got underway at Canary Wharf on 15 May. Since the first Giken pile was launched in May all 294 Giken tubes, which will support the new Crossrail station, have been installed and work is proceeding to schedule. Draining of the dock, where the new station will sit, will commence in early 2010.
Crossrail station works began at a third site, Farringdon, in November as Network Rail started demolition work on the eleven storey Cardinal Tower that stands above the site of the new station. Network Rail will build a new Crossrail station and Thameslink ticket hall on the site of Cardinal Tower, transforming Farringdon into one of London’s best-connected transport hubs with rail services north, south, east and west.
2010 will see all 42m of Cardinal Tower meticulously deconstructed, as thousands of sections of concrete are cut out of the building piece by piece, crushed on site to be reused or recycled. Once the demolition is complete, work will continue downwards, as piling and substructure works begin.
All central London station design contracts have been awarded and Crossrail will shortly conclude the award of design contracts for the rest of the route.
Crossrail has started the formal tendering process for the new rail tunnels that will run underneath central London linking the Great Eastern and Great Western National Rail lines and will form the centrepiece of the Crossrail project.
In just under two years from now the first of the tunnel boring machines will start out on its journey from Royal Oak towards Farringdon. This will be followed shortly by the launch of a further tunnel boring machine in Docklands that will head towards Farringdon under central London. Teams of dedicated construction workers will be working 24 hours a day to complete the tunnels for Europe’s largest civil engineering project with thousands of others employed to upgrade the existing rail network and build major new stations along the central section of the route. Such is the scale of this undertaking that Crossrail will next year open a dedicated Tunnelling Academy which will provide Londoners with the necessary skills to work in a variety of tunnelling roles and is expected to train up to 3,000 people by 2015.
The Tunnelling Academy will be a purpose-built facility providing training on the key skills required to work in and around a tunnel excavation and build environment. Crossrail needs a Tunnelling Academy to address the shortage of people with the necessary skills to work on the project.
Planning consent is being sought for a site at Aldersbrook in Newham. Some classroom-based courses will be available in late spring 2010, with an aspiration that the Academy fully open by October 2010 (subject to final project plan which will be signed off once the site is confirmed).
It is hoped the Tunnelling Academy will be a legacy of the Crossrail project. It is planned that the Academy will be transferred from Crossrail and operate as an independent organisation as a long-term provider of tunnelling skills to the industry.
During the construction of Crossrail, a total of 7.3 million m³ of material will be excavated, which is the equivalent of covering the whole of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens with a three metre layer of soil. Close to 100% of the 7.3 million m³ of excavated material is expected to be clean and uncontaminated and can be reused elsewhere.
Over 4 million m³ of the excavated material generated from construction of the new tunnels will be used by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to create a nature reserve at Wallasea Island in Essex.
The proposals, which have been approved by Central Government and Essex County Council, will create one of the largest new wetland nature reserves in Europe for some 50 years.
The mud flat and salt marsh habitats created at Wallasea Island will act as a carbon sink and will soak up 2.2 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year. In the region of 400 hectares of this habitat will be created.