A large-scale construction project has begun in Pasila, Helsinki – the largest such ongoing undertaking in Finland, in fact. Cranes and carrier trucks pepper the landscape, the latter en route to a dumping ground at the Helsinki Areena nearby.
The earthmoving project is part of the construction of upcoming new business centre Tripla, which is slated to become the "second city centre" of Helsinki by the end of 2019.
"You could fit three Parliament buildings in the hole we're excavating," says project leader Tapio Salo from constructor YIT. "In its final form, Tripla could comfortably accommodate 50 football fields."
The centre's underground parking lot will eventually have room for 2,300 cars. Salo says that the undertaking is massive on a Finnish scale, but significant internationally, too.
Workers from around the country
About 100 employees are busy in the gravel pit, but by next summer there will be ten times the number of workers.
The Tripla centre's foundation work is phase one of an even larger Central Pasila concept, which will also involve partially dismantling the nearby Pasila train station.
"On average, a dump truck will leave the grounds full of dirt and rock every five minutes for 14 hours each day. That should give you some idea of the amount of earth we're relocating," says YIT foreman Juha Vunneli.
Digging the foundation will take an estimated six months. The Central Pasila construction project has been compared to the ambitious, if still hypothetical, Olkiluoto nuclear power plant.
The cost of the Tripla project is estimated at 1.1 billion euros and it should be open to the public by Christmas 2019. Construction of new apartment buildings will begin one year earlier.