The 50-tonne machine began demolishing the 12-storey former University of East London building, which had been derelict for a number of years, to clear the area which will link the Olympic Village and VeloPark during the Games. In legacy the area will connect new venues, homes, schools and community facilities in the north of the Olympic Park.
The ODA aims to clear and clean the majority of the 2.5 square kilometres Olympic Park by Beijing 2008, which includes demolishing over 220 buildings and cleaning 1.3 million tonnes of contaminated soil with over 90 per cent of waste materials being reused or recycled.
The ODA gained access to the Olympic Park this summer and is already almost half way through its demolition programme with 106 buildings demolished to date. The ODA is also beating its target of reusing or recycling demolition materials. A derelict building that was next to the one being taken down today has been almost completely cleared and its demolition materials are being stored to be reused on site or recycled off site.
ODA Chief Executive David Higgins said:
'The demolition of these long disused buildings which tower over the Olympic Park is a clear symbol of how the progress we are making on the Olympic Park will help to transform a neglected part of London for future generations. Clearing this area will free it up to become a gateway between world-class sporting facilities and vital Games-time and legacy accommodation in the north of the Park.
'Demolition and clearance work across the site is surging ahead as we prepare for the start of the ‘Big Build’ after Beijing next year.'
Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee Seb Coe said:
'This is another milestone in the transformation of the Olympic Park site. In the last year, much of the work has taken place underground on the powerlines. Now, you will see an increasing amount of work taking place at ground level, as remediation and demolition gather pace. Today we are on the site of the Olympic village – in 2012, we will be welcoming 15,000 athletes from more than 200 countries, and there will be a bed for every athlete in the village, on this very site. '
The demolition of the UEL buildings marks an acceleration of work around the Olympic Village and VeloPark sites. A 35 tonne recycling machine is sifting and sorting 70,000 cubic metres of industrial and domestic rubbish in a 100 year old tip under both sites. To clean the land for the London 2012 Games and legacy the new machine is shaking, separating and sorting up to 500 tonnes of waste a day into piles of glass, metal, concrete, soil and other materials to be reused on site or recycled off site.
Demolition work is well underway on the former Frigoscandia factory which covers a large part of the Olympic Village site. A temporary powerlines diversion has been completed, allowing two overhead pylons in the middle of the site to be removed, ‘unlocking’ the area for the start of construction of the Olympic Village next year.
On the VeloPark site, earthworks are well underway to create the platform for the start of construction work in 2009. Detailed design work with chosen designers Hopkins Architects is underway and talks are continuing with a six-strong shortlist of contractors to build the venue.