London Olympic's 2012 starts to take shape
AWE inspiring giant and iconic structures that will house thousands of spectators and Olympic and Paralympic athletes are taking shape in London, writes Louise Dunderdale. A number of reporters boarded a minibus in Stratford to take a look at the work bei
AWE inspiring giant and iconic structures that will house thousands of spectators and Olympic and Paralympic athletes are taking shape in London, writes Louise Dunderdale.
A number of reporters boarded a minibus in Stratford to take a look at the work being done on the Olympic Park.
It's just 851 days until the Olympic Games open on 27 July 2012 with the eyes of the world turning to gaze at London, so the site is a hive of activity.
The Games run until 12 August 2012, followed by the Paralympic Games from 29 August 2012 until 9 September 2012.
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But as tour guide Sean Kelleher pointed out, they need to get everything finished ahead of time to ensure everything works as it should.
The sheer scale of the site, 500 acres or 2.4 square kilometres, surrounded on three sides by water, takes the breath away, and the height of the buildings make you feel the size of an ant.
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After our minibus passed through the seven lane entrance in North Plaza - like a giant Checkpoint Charlie as security is taken very seriously where every guard is a former Gurkha soldier.
One of the first buildings you see is the grey and white International Broadcast Centre.
As big as One Canada Square but on its side, it could house five jump jets and will be home to the international media.
And while there is parking on the site, the target is to have people arriving by public transport, by foot or cycling as Stratford International, the tube, DLR, and bus depot are nearby.
There is a lot to do before the Games, yet despite the frenzy of construction, which is running to timescale and with one delivery arriving every 12 seconds on average, there have been eight sets of a million hours worked on the site without a single reportable accident.
Over 200 buildings have been demolished, some have been taken down piece by piece and reconstructed elsewhere, and 1.4m tonnes of soil cleaned on what was industri- al land.
Sean said one of the major projects is something we can't see - the power went underground as they would not have been able to work around giant pylons.
The iconic buildings are taking shape - the Velodrome which will host the track cycling events with its Pringleshaped double curved roof, the 80,000 seater Olympic Stadium, the Aquatic Centre with its roof in the shape of a giant wave, the basketball arena - and so are important services such as the Olympic Village where the thousands of athletes will stay, with canteen facilities able to feed 5,000 at a time.
After the Olympics and Paralympics have finished it's not the end of the story.
The site will have a variety of community and business uses, so work on buildings and even bridges has had to be thought through for longterm purposes.
The stadium seating can be reduced in size, the athletes' village will be turned into 2,800 homes, half of which will be affordable homes, and there will be parkland for community uses - the largest urban park to be built in Europe for 150 years, comparable in size to Hyde Park added to Kensington Gardens.
If you'd like to see the site for yourself, there are a limited number of minibus and walking tours available. Log on to www.London2012.com