Described to become “the most striking element of HS2” work is to begin on what is to be a 3.4km rail-bridge which will carry the new high speed rail across waterways and lakes in Buckinghamshire
The Colne Valley Viaduct will be almost a kilometer longer than the Forth Rail Bridge and will carry trains travelling at speeds of up to 200mph. With a team of engineers there will be nearly 300 piles that will form the foundations of the viaduct.
Project director, Daniel Altier, said “The way it will be constructed is going to be equally fascinating for engineers young and old. “The sections for the deck will be fabricated at our main construction site in the west of London just inside the M25, and using a huge launching girder, the deck will be formed from north to south, along the line of the route, thereby keeping unnecessary construction traffic off the roads.
“I am delighted that today we have reached this important milestone in the viaduct’s construction.
The structure will be supported by 56 piers, with the widest spans reserved for where the viaduct crosses the lakes and narrower spans for the approaches.
The design look to enable views across the landscape, minimise the viaduct’s footprint on the lakes and help complement the natural surroundings. Inspired by the flight of a stone skipping across the water, with a series of elegant spans, some up to 80m long, carrying the railway around 10m above the surface of the lakes Colne and Grand Union Canal.
Environmental agencies such as Afinity Water and environment agency have supported the present approach taken and methods. The construction will furthermore be monitored by a team of specialist engineers in order to protect the natural environment.
HS2 Ltd’s Central 1 project, Client Rohan Perin, added: “The Colne Valley Viaduct will be one of HS2’s most iconic structures and it’s great to see work now starting in earnest.