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The quarterly digital publication on UK & London 2012 Olympic Games Construction Activities


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London 2012 Olympic Games



London 2012
Olympic Games

London 2012 Olympic Games


Clean-Up Begins After Decades
of Neglect on Navigable Waterways

Clean-Up Begins After Decades of Neglect on Navigable Waterways In and around the London 2012 Olympic Park are 8.35 km of waterways.

Known as the Lea Valley waterways, they primarily run north to south through the heart of the Park and ultimately connect with the Thames. The largest waterway is the River Lea, which runs through the centre of the Park.

This is joined in the northern part of the Park by the Channelsea River, Henniker’s Ditch and two main areas of wet-lands.

In the south, the waterways include the Waterworks River, City Mill River, Bow Back River and the Old River Lea. The Park’s western-most boundary is the Lea Navigation – a historically important canal that links east London to west and north London and used to be a vital transport route. However, over the years, as transport shifted from waterway to road and rail, the rivers have silted up and become dumping grounds for waste material

A multi-million pound dredging programme to revitalise the Olympic Park waterways is underway, improving water quality and opening up the navigation to allow freight boats to carry construction materials into the site.

A 60-tonne craft has started dredging a 2.2 km stretch of water from Bow Locks on Bow Creek to the Waterworks River, adjacent to the site of the Aquatics Centre. The craft is expected to remove 30,000 tonnes of silt, gravel and rubble as well as tyres, shopping trolleys, timber and at least one motor car.

The clearing and cleaning of the waterways will enable freight barges to carry construction materials in, and waste out, of the Park during the construction phase. ODA Environment Manager Richard Jackson said: "The Olympic Park is characterised by a series of waterways which act as green corridors running through the heart of the site. Currently, they are polluted, neglected and under-used, and have been treated as a dumping ground for everything from shopping trolleys to cars.

"This dredging programme is an important step in regenerating the waterways and will help improve water quality, creating better habitats for wildlife and plants."

The clearing and cleaning of the waterways will enable freight barges to carry construction materials in, and waste out, of the Park during the construction phase.

A wharf is being constructed on the Waterworks River near the Aquatics Centre and will be used to receive freight loads for the Olympic Park contractors.

Barges will be able to travel into the Park by water via the new lock and water control structure - Three Mills Lock, at Prescott Channel. The £20m structure comprises twin water control gates, a 62m-long tidal lock, footbridge, lock control building, fish pass and fixed weir.

Richard Jackson added: 'This is a crucial part of our logistics strategy as we plan to use the waterways for the transport of construction materials into the Olympic Park, cutting down on the amount of hgihway trucks travelling on the roads.'
Richard Rutter, Regeneration Manager, British Waterways said: "Dredging the waterways of the silt and rubbish built up over the years in and around the Olympic Park is an essential part of the rejuvenation of east London’s rivers. The dredged aggregates will be recycled and reused in construction works in the Olympic Park.

"These dredging works will help us to realise our dream of seeing both commercial freight barges and leisure boats taking to the water once again in east London."




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