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Crossrail station profile: Canary Wharf

Construction began on the long awaited Crossrail project on 15 May, when London mayor Boris Johnson and transport minister Lord Adonis dropped the first pile into the waters of the North Dock at Canary Wharf.

Four months later, things are progressing to schedule on the Canary Wharf Crossrail station worksite.

The base slab of the station will be 25m below the water level. This means the first stage of construction is to build a cofferdam wall to retain the dock water, allowing excavation and construction of the 256m-long station below the dock bed.

Since the May start date approximately 255, or close to 90%, of the 18m-long steel tube piles which help form the cofferdam have been installed. These will eventually be reinforced with concrete piles extending a further 15m into the dockbed.

Temporary anchor piles are also being installed to the north of the station box to provide extra support to hold the dock water back.

Two specialist Giken piling rigs were brought in from Japan for the task of installing the steel tubular piles, using a silent technique powered by hydraulics. The subcontractor for the station box piling is Expanded Piling, a Laing O’Rourke subsidiary.

“As we are in very close proximity to office buildings and local residents we need to minimise noise.”

Cliff Bryant, Canary Wharf Contractors

“As we are in very close proximity to office buildings and local residents we need to minimise noise,” explains Cliff Bryant, executive director for Canary Wharf Contractors, which is the lead contractor designing and constructing the station.

“The Giken silent piling has gone extremely well. It’s a very smart piece of kit. We’ve now sent one of the machines back to Japan, and the other is close to completion at the eastern end of the site, near Billingsgate fish market.”

As well as construction, the finishing touches have been made to the design of the station box, which aims to be ready for the two passing tunnel boring machines by 2012 and fully fitted out by 2015.

Thought has also been given to ensuring construction is environmentally sustainable, especially with 156,000m³ of excavated material being produced over the next few years.

“The preference is to test and re-use as much excavated material as possible onsite. We think we can re-use around a third, and the rest will predominantly be taken by river barge to Holehaven Creek in Essex,” says Bryant.

“The preference is to re-use as much excavated material as possible onsite. We think we can re-use around a third.”

Cliff Bryant, Canary Wharf Contractors

“As with all our sites, we aim to minimise impact on the environment and local community. Using the river barges avoids congestion on the roads and noise and air pollution. It can also help with the pace of construction,” he says.

The excavated material will help to transform the Pitsea site at Holehaven Creek from landfill to high quality land for public access, without disturbing the nearby tidal mudflat, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

After building the cofferdam this year, the next major phase of construction is dewatering the dock, which will begin in the first quarter of 2010.

“As Crossrail has been talked about for so many years, it’s very exciting to see some action. We are proud to be contributing to a project which will ultimately benefit London enormously,” says Bryant.

Canary Wharf Crossrail station will be one of the largest stations on the Crossrail route and will be six-storeys high. Retail areas are planned for four of the six storeys including a landscaped, restaurant and community facility on the top floor. The station will be covered by an elegant, semi open-air timber lattice roof allowing far-reaching views.

Canary Wharf Group will build this station for a fixed price of £500M with £350M of this being provided by Crossrail’s £15.9bn budget and £150M provided by the developer. Canary Wharf Group will bear the risk in relation to costs above the fixed price limit.

The station’s retail scheme includes a rooftop park scheme and is designed by architect Foster + Partners and landscape designer Gillespies. The station is designed by Tony Meadows and Associates. Structural engineering and building services is undertaken by Arup.

Crossrail run times from Canary Wharf

  • Canary Wharf n/a
  • Whitechapel 04 mins
  • Liverpool Street 07 mins
  • Farringdon 10 mins
  • Tottenham Court Road 13 mins
  • Bond Street 15 mins
  • Paddington 18 mins

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