May 8 - 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 travel along it.
A 60-tonne craft has started dredging a 2.2 kilometres 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.
Richard Jackson, the environment manager for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), 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.
Work began on the upper levels of the wharf this week and is due to be completed at the start of June.
Barges will then be able to travel into the Park by water via the new lock and water control structure, Three Mills Lock, at Prescott Channel.
The £20 million structure comprises twin water control gates, a 62 metres-long tidal lock, footbridge, lock control building, fish pass and fixed weir.
Jackson said: “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 lorries travelling on the roads.”
Richard Rutter, the regeneration manager for 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 .”
|April 2008:||New river banks in place on site of Aquatics Centre|