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Olympic construction sets sail in Portland

Construction work has started on the first venue outside of the Olympic Park for the London 2012 Games. The Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy will be the first venue ready for 2012.

The Olympic and Paralympic Sailing events in 2012 will be hosted at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy which offers world-class facilities and some of the best small boat sailing conditions in the world. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and its contractors Dean & Dyball have now started work to enhance the existing sailing facilities with the construction of a new permanent 250m slipway and new race-boat parking, lifting and mooring facilities.

The ODA's enhancement works at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy involve reclaiming 18,000m2 of land in front of the venue using 80,000 tonnes of local Portland stone. Approximately 250m of slipways and ramps will then be constructed, together with a new pier offering two yacht lifting cranes. In front of the pier, a new pontoon will be constructed with 70 berths and the enhanced facilities will be protected by a 200m breakwater.

With work now underway and the enhanced facilities due to be completed by the end of 2008, Weymouth & Portland is on track to be the first venue ready for the 2012 Games.

ODA Chief Executive David Higgins, said:"The start of construction on the first venue for 2012 is an important step forwards and it is significant we have hit this major milestone in Weymouth & Portland, showing 2012 will be a nationwide Games with sporting and economic benefits spread around the country.

"With work due to be completed by the end of 2008, Weymouth & Portland will be one of the first venues ready for 2012 keeping us on track to deliver an early legacy of world-class facilities for elite athletes and the local community to use well ahead of 2012."

The ODA developed the construction plans in close consultation with Natural England to avoid disrupting the local environment and wildlife. The initial set-up on site for the enhancement works took place in January but the start of construction was deliberately held back and programmed to start now to avoid disrupting the nesting season of over-wintering birds around the local coastline.

In recognition of the environmental aspects of the design of stage of the ODA’s enhancement works, the project was today awarded the CEEQUAL Excellent Award (Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment and Award Scheme). CEEQUAL assesses the environmental quality of civil engineering projects - a civil engineering equivalent to the BREEAM awards for buildings.

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