‘Noisy’ major work starts on Luton Dart

LLA terminal front at dusk.
LLA terminal front at dusk.

Two phases of essential sheet piling works are due to begin tomorrow (Wednesday) on the pioneering £225m Luton DART fast transit project.

The Luton DART will be an automated 2.1km system, linking London Luton Airport with Luton Airport Parkway mainline station in well under four minutes, and is due to open in 2021.

The first phase of the piling works will begin next to the main airport terminal, for six weeks. Operational hours will be restricted to daytimes, Monday to Friday, from 7.30am to 6pm.

Passengers using the airport’s drop-off zone will experience intermittent construction noise on their route to the terminal while these works progress. Some background noise could be experienced by residents within 750m of the terminal but this will be contained and in line with the tightly-controlled planning conditions.

The second phase of piling will be very close to the airport’s taxiway, and therefore will have to be done at night for operational and safety reasons. To reduce any noise impact, a number of measures have been adopted – including a quieter method of vibrating the panels into place.

This work will begin on 29 October for six weeks, and will initially take place from Monday to Friday evenings, from 10pm until 5.30am, intermittently throughout the night. Additional night-time piling activity will also take place over the weekends of 9/10 and 16/17 November to take advantage of an airport closure.

Constant noise monitoring will take place throughout the period and a manned 24-hour helpline has been released for residents to contact in the event that there is any disturbance that needs to be reported.

Cllr Andy Malcolm, chair of London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL), Luton Council’s airport company, said: “We appreciate that night working will not be ideal for residents and we are therefore doing everything possible to complete the programme as quietly and as quickly possible to minimise any disruption caused. For this reason it has been decided that we will vibrate the sheet piles into the ground, rather than ‘hammering’ them, which we anticipate will significantly reduce the impacts which may be experienced.”

The project forms part of Luton’s £1.5 billion Investment Framework to transform the town and secure long-term economic growth, and in early 2018 the Council’s airport company London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) awarded contracts for the civil engineering works to a VolkerFitzpatrick-Kier (VFK) joint venture to design and construct two stations, a gateway bridge, viaduct and tunnels.

Additional excavation and service diversion works will take place on the nights of 9 & 10 November and 16 & 17 November, however it is not expected that there will be any noise disruption from these activities.

LLAL is writing to around 1,000 addresses within 750m of the works and anyone with further questions may contact:

• The Luton DART Stakeholder Manager Jon Deas, email jonathan.deas@kier.co.uk

• The dedicated Luton DART helpline, 07384 799322