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17.05.13

More HS2 tunnels as DfT publishes design refinements

The draft Environmental Statement (ES) and design refinements consultations for HS2 have been published by the DfT. The documents will be open to public consultation until July 11.

It helps to prepare the formal ES, which is essential for the Hybrid Bill for HS2, due to be published later this year.

The most significant design refinements include tunnelling under Ealing and Northolt in north west London, and at Bromford in the West Midlands, as well as plans to redevelop Euston station for high speed trains without having to knock it down and completely rebuild it.

The 1.2-mile tunnel under the M6 Bromford Viaduct is longer than the original 0.6-mile proposal, but should forestall the need for major overhauls of two roads and the loss of playing fields and social clubs, as well as new flood defences and relocating pylons.

The new London tunneling plans were announced in late April, when HS2 Ltd Community and Stakeholder Manager for London, Peter Fry, said: “The study we commissioned found that for this specific section of the line, the cost of tunnel would be comparable with a route on the surface without the need to replace bridges and divert associated utilities.”

Tunneling under Ealing and Northolt should save 15 months of construction time, too. It will be the longest single tunnel on the route – 8.5 miles (14km).

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “HS2 is absolutely vital for this country, providing a huge economic boost which will generate a return on investment that will continue paying back for generations to come. But you cannot build a new railway line without causing some disruption.

“What we can and will do is ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum by using the very latest design and construction methods.

“We are confident that through continued hard work we can ensure that many of the feared effects of HS2 never materialise. We also know that the best design for the scheme can only be reached with the input of local communities, environmental groups and all levels of Government.

“Publication of these plans is a crucial next step and will ensure that construction of the first phase can begin within the next four years.”

HS2 Ltd chief executive Alison Munro said: “Following a review of the alternatives a tunnel design was considered to be the preferred option as it proved to be less complex in engineering terms and would avoid the loss of local community facilities.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Image c. Ewan Munro

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