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ODA plots early start for 2012 pool

Construction of London's Olympic swimming pool will start three months ahead of schedule, it was revealed this week.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) infrastructure and utilities director Simon Wright told NCE that the building of the Aquatics centre will start in April 2008, instead of the planned start date in July.

"The official start date is this summer, but work will begin in April [along with the main stadium]," said Wright.

The ODA revealed last month that construction of the main stadium by Sir Robert McAlpine would begin earlier than planned, due the rapid progress of remediation contractor Nuttall in the south of the park.

Nuttall is also clearing the Aquatics centre site, washing thousands of tonnes of contaminated soil and widening the waterways beside the site by 8m.

"Remediation is going well and we have got most of the piling for the river walls in, so the contractor will be able start in April," Wright said.

Balfour Beatty is currently sole bidder to build the £150M pool, with the official appointment of a contractor due early next year.

The pool has been designed by architect Zaha Hadid and Arup to accommodate, 20,000 seats during the games, 17,500 of which will be temporary. It will have a 14,000m2 steel roof housing, a 50m training pool, a 50m competition pool and a diving pool.

Nuttall's preparation of the 10ha site for Balfour Beatty includes widening the adjacent river some 800m by breaking out the existing concrete river walls and re-establishing the river bank 8m inland.

Two-thirds of the new embankment comprises river wall piling with the remainder using other methods such as reinforced earth.

The majority of piling is complete and is likely to finish early next year.

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