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Viewpoint: Getting London connected

Work to get Stratford Station ready for the Olympics is in full swing, says Olympic Delivery Authority chairman John Armitt

Transport is critical to delivering a successful Games in 2012 and also transforming the connectivity of areas that have long been dislocated from the rest of London.

Providing transport for the Games therefore provides the Olympic Delivery Authority and our partners with a challenge and an opportunity.

The challenge is to ensure safe, reliable and accessible transport each day for more than 55,000 athletes, officials, media and VIPs, as well as 500,000 spectators and 120,000 staff and volunteers − while minimising disruption to non-Games transport. The opportunity is to deliver improvements that will meet not just Games demand but also the long-term needs of London and the UK.

“The opportunity is to deliver improvements that will meet not just Games demand but also the long-term needs of London and the UK.”

We are on track to deliver these improvements and the work to increase capacity at Stratford Regional Station is a good example. Transport minister Sadiq Khan visited the station to review progress of the improvements taking place and in his own words, he was “really impressed and excited” by what he saw.

His view is understandable, as the station is a hive of transport and construction activity. During the Games it will be used by 60% of all spectators visiting the Olympic Park.

To accommodate this demand the ODA is investing £100M to make permanent improvements at the station. These will be completed by the end of next year.

The improvements include the construction of a huge new town centre link bridge spanning 11 live railway lines − which will allow direct access to the Olympic Park − and installing several 27m-long steel beams to support the roof of a new mezzanine-level entrance to the station. Other notable projects include:

  • A new, wider bridge to replace the existing Angel Lane Bridge to the east of the station that will allow the creation of more space for pedestrians and improved safety for road users.
  • A new loop so that freight trains no longer block passenger platforms.
  • Building and widening platforms, installing new lifts and staircases, extending canopies and removing platform clutter.

Meanwhile two new lifts are now in operation and two new London Overground platforms have opened which have enabled work to start on converting the old platforms for Docklands Light Railway (DLR) use. Once converted these platforms will become part of a new DLR extension from Stratford International to Canning Town.

“To accommodate this demand the ODA is investing £100M to make permanent improvements at Stratford Regional Station.”

There is, of course, still a long way to go until the work is finished, but the difference the ODA’s investment has already made to the station is marked. The Games will bring a wealth of benefits to passengers and the local community before, during and after 2012, and Stratford a great example.

As Khan commented: “The good news is the transport infrastructure will be done and dusted by the end of 2010, so it’s a legacy happening before and after the Olympics.”

  • John Armitt is chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority

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