UK Transport Secretary, Phillip Hammond further demonstrated the new Government’s intention to proceed with Crossrail, albeit with a firm eye on costs when he visited what will be the project’s first station at Canary Wharf yesterday. Hammond said, “I came to visit the Crossrail project today to signal my intention to press ahead with the major improvements in our transport system that business and passengers need. The work being carried out at Canary Wharf is an excellent example of how this can be done in an innovative and efficient way, so that we get value for taxpayers’ money.”
He continued, “We live in difficult economic times, but that does not mean that we should scrap big projects which would give the economy a vital boost in the future. But it does mean that we must ensure that every pound we invest is well spent. I am determined that this scheme remains affordable – Londoners, business and the taxpayer would expect nothing less.”
Mr Hammond met Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan, Rob Holden, Crossrail Chief Executive, George Iacobescu, Chief Executive of Canary Wharf Group plc, Peter Anderson, Managing Director of Finance at Canary Wharf Group and Cliff Bryant, Chief Executive Director of Canary Wharf Contractors Limited, on his first official visit as Transport Secretary to a Crossrail construction site. The majority of works on the 118km route are due to be completed in 2017.
Works at Canary Wharf have moved on apace. On 15 May 2009 the first tubular 20m long pile was lowered at the site of Canary Wharf Station, signalling the start of construction on the Crossrail project. Since then a further 296 tubular piles, encasing concrete piles, and various supporting piles, ties, links and construction platforms have been installed in North Dock at Canary Wharf, forming a 1.3m wide coffer dam holding back the water outside of the work site.
In February the pumps to remove approximately 98M litres of water from inside the work site at up to 800,000 litres/hour were started and now all of this water has now been successfully removed, revealing a work site that is 276m long and 10.8m below the level of the surrounding dock water.
The next stages in the work include excavation of the dock bed to create a base slab to form the top of the ticket concourse, followed by top down construction of the lower slab and the Station Platform 27m below. Canary Wharf Group plans to have the station box ready for the tunnel boring machines in summer 2012 with the station box complete and handed over in 2015.
The use of Giken piling techniques to drain the dock is part of the innovative construction techniques being employed at the site by Canary Wharf Group, the first time specialist Giken machinery enabling more effective draining of the dock has been used in the UK.
Crossrail will run 118km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21km long tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. It will bring an additional 1.5M people within 60 minutes commuting distance of London’s key business districts. When Crossrail begins it’s phased delivery in 2017 it will increase London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10%, supporting regeneration across the capital, helping to secure London’s position as a world leading financial centre, and cutting journey times across the city.