Piling rig at work on the site of the A43 overbridge April 2024

Foundation work begins for key HS2 project

Construction works to secure the foundation for a key bridge in the HS2 project have begun, following the successful completion of realignment work.

HS2 says that only two weekend closures were needed during the seven months it took to realign the two carriageways on the A43, which links Oxford, Brackley and Northampton.

Engineers have worked in collaboration with National Highways to establish an ‘island’ between the two carriageways that is large enough for a new bridge deck.

Now, the engineers are working on a 52-metre deep piled foundation that will support the weight of the bridge, which will be topped with concrete pile caps and piers to support the 66-metre-long bridge deck.

The road will be moved back over the new bridge as soon as the deck is complete, which will mean engineers can begin excavating the area underneath to create the space necessary for the incoming railway.

“It’s great to see the start of foundation works for the A43 overbridge,” said Elizabeth Longinotti, HS2 senior project manager. “Once complete, HS2 will boost connections between Britain’s two largest cities while freeing up space for more local services on the existing network.”

To minimise disruption, HS2 says it worked with National Highways and its contractors to undertake a multi-stage approach.

Phil Shaw, National Highways network planner for the East Midlands, added: “Working together we have not only been able to limit the impact on drivers of building the overbridge but have also been able to take advantage of any road closures to carry out some routine maintenance work which means we won’t have to come back and close the road another time.”

The 80-kilometre stretch of railway that passes through Brackley, and includes the A43 bridge, is being delivered by EFKB, which is made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall. They are working with ASC, which is a joint venture between Arcadis, Setec and COWI.

According to HS2, the whole project is now at peak construction with 28,000 people directly employed as well as across the wider UK supply chain.

Image credit: HS2

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