Advanced words are well underway at the Bond Street Crossrail station in Mayfair, central London, and the Costain Skanska Joint Venture team have completed two out of a total of five compensation grout shafts. Compensation grouting is being done to help protect neighbouring properties from problems caused by ground settlement during tunnelling and excavation of the box at the Bond Street Crossrail station.
The compensation grout shafts are being built to a depth of seventeen metres using a method whereby the shaft is built on the surface and then pushed down into position using hydraulic ramps. The shaft is sunk one metre at a time and concrete rings are put in place, one at a time. A crane helps to remove the excavated material and a material known as sloop is used to act as a fluid support between the concrete rings and surrounding soil.
The Costain Skanska JV team have faced a number of specific challenges as works have progressed on the Crossrail Bond Street station. Working in the heart of Mayfair has meant that access to the Crossrail Bond Street station site, plus the logistics of organising deliveries of materials, has been something of a nightmare. Consequently, plant selection and delivery schedules have had to be carefully planned to avoid disrupting the surrounding neighbours.
As work has progressed, other issues have also come to light and during the excavation of both of the first two compensation grout shafts large obstructions have come to light. The first was a massive concrete block, believed to have been a filled in basement structure, and the second was a section of pipe, the existence of which the engineers were hitherto unaware. The section of pipe was subsequently confirmed to be not in use and was later removed.
In a shock development yesterday, it was announced that the CEO of Crossrail, Rob Holden, will be leaving his position after only two years in the job and moving on to pastures new. His surprise resignation comes only a short time after Crossrail survived the Government spending review cuts, and after the award of several major tunnelling contracts.
Rob Holden is considered one of the most respected managers in Civil Engineering and his loss will be acute. He was seen as an important figure in the Crossrail team due to his previous experience overseeing construction of the High Speed One rail link from London to the Channel Tunnel.
Although he apparently has no other job lined up as yet, Holden’s explanation for the sudden departure is that Crossrail needed a boss who was able to lead the Crossrail project through to completion in 2018. However, the inside story is that he is leaving due to frustrations surrounding governance of the project.
Crossrail Chairman, Terry Morgan, has described Rob Holden’s performance to date as “outstanding” and although the Crossrail board “regrets” Holden’s decision, they apparently understand his desire to “do something else and develop his career.”
The Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, reiterated that the government remains committed to the Crossrail project and he looks forward to working with Rob Holden’s successor.
Holden will be required to serve 6 months notice before he leaves Crossrail, so the search will now be on for a suitably qualified successor who will be able to take over the leadership role as Crossrail enters the all-important construction phase of the project. Terry Morgan has said there will be a formal recruitment process and Crossrail has no names in mind as yet. However, the current CEO of High Speed One, Mark Bayley, has been mentioned as a possible contender for the job.
Detailed plans for the new £300 million Crossrail Bond Street station have now been submitted to Westminster Council for planning approval. Work on the Crossrail station is scheduled to begin in 2011 for completion on 2017.
The contract for the Bond Street Crossrail station was recently awarded to the Costain / Laing O’Rourke Joint Venture and the station has been designed by architects John McAslan and Partners. The Bond Street Crossrail plans include above-ground developments, including a retail and commercial site above the station, but these will be submitted under separate planning applications at the appropriate time.
Once completed, the new Crossrail Bond Street station will be fully integrated with the existing Bond Street station and will form a combined station stretching from Oxford Street to Hanover Square. There are entrances and ticket halls planned for Hanover Square and Davies Street and the station will be constructed on five separate levels to allow passengers to freely flow in and out of the station.
The existing Bond Street tube station already caters for around 155,000 passengers on a daily basis, but once it becomes integrated with the new Crossrail station facility, passenger numbers are expected to increase to more than 225,000 per day.
Crossrail consider the Bond Street station as one of the important of the Crossrail stations as once it is up and running it will form the gateway to the West End. As such, it is imperative that the Crossrail station design is able to meet the future needs of passengers.
Once the Crossrail scheme is in service, it will dramatically reduce the journey time for passengers travelling from the West End to destinations across London—Heathrow will be accessible within 31 minutes. At peak travel times, Crossrail will be running 24 trains per hour in each direction.