The 180-metre floating walkway was innovatively built from reused shipping containers and was funded by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) as part of the Southern Access Project designed to help handle footfall next summer by giving spectators more transport options at ExCeL, which will be one of the busiest venues throughout the Olympics and Paralympics as it stages 13 events.
The new route will offer a shortcut for those leaving the venue after events have finished by cutting across the Royal Victoria Dock - saving spectators a 750m walk to the nearest crossing point.
The pontoon, which is fitted with a 15m gate to allow boats to pass, will be tested at the WorldSkills London 2011 event from October 5-8. The scale of the event is similar to the Games-time operation at ExCeL. It is also the only event before the Games which uses a similar ‘one-way’ entry and exit system because of the expected numbers of visitors.
The ODA has worked with partners, including ExCeL, DLR and the London Development Agency (LDA), to ensure safe and continuous movement of spectators during the Games. Access to the venue will be from the western entrance and the exit will be in the east.
Spectators leaving ExCel will be able to cross the pontoon and make their way along a new footpath at Silvertown Quay and into the Pontoon Dock DLR station (Woolwich Arsenal branch) via a temporary bridge across North Woolwich Road. This will help alleviate pressure at Prince Regent DLR station (Beckton branch), which is directly outside the venue.
Arriving spectators will alight at either Custom House DLR station (also outside the venue on the Beckton Branch) or West Silvertown DLR station (Woolwich Arsenal branch), although they will not require use of the pontoon.
The pontoon will be partially removed after the World Skills event to allow boats to use the dock, and will be fully reassembled in time for the Games.
ODA Director of Transport Hugh Sumner said: 'The pontoon will cut right across the Royal Dock so that the DLR network can share the expected level of spectators, who will only have a short walk to get the train home – not a marathon. The Games will be very much business as unusual and we have had to call into play a variety of innovative measures to ensure London keeps moving.'
Jonathan Fox, TfL's DLR Director, said: 'We're looking forward to playing a big role in getting people to and from the 2012 Games venues, and this walkway will mean even more of our stations will play a part in that. This week's Worldskills London event gives the perfect opportunity to put this innovative solution to the test and ensure we're match-fit for the Games.'
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For further information please contact the Olympic Delivery Authority Press Office on +44 (0)203 2012 700.
The construction of the venues and infrastructure of the London 2012 Games is funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Mayor of London and the London Development Agency.
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Notes to Editors:
- ExCeL will host a number of sports, including: Boxing, Fencing, Judo, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Boccia, Paralympic Table Tennis, Paralympic Judo, Paralympic Powerlifting, Volleyball (Sitting) and Wheelchair Fencing.
- WorldSkills London 2011 is the world's largest, international skills competition with young people from across the globe competing to be the best of the best in their chosen skill
- The pontoon was specified by Arup UK.
- The main contractor was Jackson Civil Engineering Group Ltd (Ipswich)
- Buoyancy for the pontoon is maintained by expanded polystyrene internally and a decking of concrete was poured in situ before each pair of containers was lowered into the water, before being linked together and fitted with fencing and lighting.