High Speed 2 (HS2) has celebrated the completion of the UK’s heaviest bridge drive, which took place near Lichfield.
The 6,200-tonne concrete structure was driven into place under the West Coast Main Line (WCML) at Fulfen Wood. The bridge is 56 metres long and 19 metres wide, and will allow the future HS2 track to run beneath the WCML as it heads north out of Birmingham and towards Crewe.
The bridge drive was a complex operation, and took over six months to complete. The structure was built adjacent to the WCML, and then slowly manoeuvred into place on self-propelled modular transporters.
Before the bridge was moved into place, 61,000 cubic metres of earth have already been removed to help create the space for the structure.
The bridge drive was a major milestone for the HS2 project, and was hailed as a “huge feat of engineering” by Caroline Warrington, senior project manager at HS2 Ltd.
“It is our latest big milestone as we approach peak construction on Phase One of HS2. We’re making fantastic progress on this section of the route, with over 9,000 people working on the project in the Midlands and over 29,500 on the whole project, providing a vital boost for British businesses and jobs”, she added.
Around 300 people working for HS2’s civils contractor Balfour Beatty VINCI have delivered the work. A team of 200 people have been working 24/7 this week to move the bridge. Once it was in place, the team then backfilled around it and put the railway back in place ready to re-open next week.
Chloe Foster-Chambers, section engineer for Balfour Beatty VINCI who are working with Hs2 Ltd. on the project said: “As an engineer, big feats of engineering like this bridge drive make HS2 such a fantastic project to work on. It’s been a real team effort over the last two years, and seeing the operation successfully completed felt like a great achievement for everyone involved.”
Once the operation at Fulfen Wood is completed, the transporters will be moved further up the line to install another huge bridge drive at Streethay, where a similar 2,600 tonne structure will be moved into place.
Photo Credit: HS2
Video Credit: HS2
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