Contractors began preparing the groundworks for the new Weymouth Tower this week.
Concrete piles are being sunk to a depth of 17 metres on Weymouth Pier to provide a circular watertight curtain for the main excavation works.
An official groundbreaking ceremony will be hosted in January when a huge mechanical digger begins the seven-metre deep hole for the Tower’s foundations.
The new £3.5 million visitor attraction from Weymouth Sea Life Park owners Merlin Entertainments Group is set to open next summer.
“We’ve started work bang on schedule and we’re confident the Tower will be ready to operate early next summer,” said Sea Life Park general manager Craig Dunkerley, who will also manage the Tower.
Soaring 53 metres above the resort’s well-known ferry terminal, the Tower will stand on the corner of the Pier, its slowly revolving observation pod offering dramatic bird’s eye views over the Olympic sailing arena.
At its highest point the view on a clear day will extend far beyond Weymouth Bay and Portland into the English Channel, and many miles along the famous Jurassic coast.
Turning through a full 360-degrees it will also reveal an incredible panoramic vista of the West Dorset countryside.
Constructed and shipped to the UK in sections by German company Huss, based in Bremen, the Tower’s total weight will be 130 metric tons.
The observation pod, with its floor-to-ceiling polycarbonate windows, can carry 70 passengers at a time, revolving around a 2.5 metre diameter central steel column.
“We’ve been really encouraged by the very warm reception the Tower plans have received from the local population,” said Craig,” but we also anticipate significant custom from the crowds flocking to see the Olympic sailing events.”