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2012 Olympics site starts 3 months early

PUBLISHED: 18:45 11 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:07 05 October 2010

RADIOACTIVE soil discovered at the 2012 Olympics site is being taken away in the next few weeks, the Olympics Delivery authority has confirmed. Contaminated soil resulting from years of industrial pollution has had to be stockpiled at the massive site before it can be disposed of

By Mike Brooke

RADIOACTIVE soil discovered at the 2012 Olympics site is being taken away in the next few weeks, with building work now three months ahead of schedule, the Olympics Delivery authority has confirmed.

Contaminated soil resulting from years of industrial pollution has been stockpiled on the massive site that stretches from Stratford and Bow Bridge to Hackney Wick before it can be disposed of.

High-tech monitoring has been carried out during the earthworks programme which detected small amounts of "low level radiological finds" in the soil where the stadium itself is being constructed.

"This soil has had 'mild radioactive properties' due to the past industrial activity over the last 100 years or so," the Olympics authority said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The authority has been cooperating with the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive throughout this process and has already carried out ecological surveys."

The radioactive scare first emerged last year when readings were taken when excavations began.

But the radioactive level being mild has ruled out any danger to the area, the authority has assured.

Meanwhile, construction on the main stadium is starting three months early, it has confirmed.

"We are firmly on track to start construction work ahead of schedule," said Olympics authority chairman John Armitt.

"We have finished the work ahead of time to dig the bowl where the opening ceremony and athletics will take place in 2012."

Building starts at the end of May instead of August. Ground levels have had to be lowered by nearly 40ft to create the sunken area for the track and permanent lower tiers of seating.

This means 800,000 tonnes of soil has been taken away over the last three months. That's enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall nine times over!

The site offices at the peak of construction will house 1,000 workforce, from engineers and architects to foremen and digger drivers. The first 50 are expected to move in next month.

mike.brooke@archant.co.uk

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