HS2 has begun lifting the first of 72 huge beams that will support the deck of the Thame Valley Viaduct, the first of its kind in the UK to have all major elements manufactured off site.
The 880-meter long viaduct will carry HS2 services between London and Birmingham, crossing the flood plain of the River Thame near Aylesbury. It is set low into the landscape with a simple and consistent profile, with the underside of the viaduct just 3 meters above the ground.
We have started lifting the first of 72 huge beams that will support the deck of the Thame Valley Viaduct - the first of its kind in the #UK to have all major elements manufactured off site 🤩.— HS2 Ltd (@HS2ltd) October 31, 2023
Engineers at the site near #Aylesbury used two huge cranes 🏗️ to lift the 90 tonne… pic.twitter.com/hz3TN6EGOP
The viaduct was designed by HS2's main works contractor, EKFB, and is being constructed by specialist on-site construction partner, FC Civils Solutions. The use of pre-fabricated beams and other elements has a number of benefits, including:
- Reduced embedded carbon: The lighter-weight design uses less carbon-intensive concrete and steel, cutting its carbon footprint by around a third.
- Improved efficiency and safety: Manufacturing the major elements of the viaduct off site improves efficiency, safety, and quality.
- Reduced disruption: The pre-fabricated approach requires fewer lorries to deliver material to site, simplifies construction, cuts waste, and reduces disruption for the community during construction.
- Improved safety on site: The pre-fabricated approach also reduces the amount of work at height, which improves safety on site.
The 68 giant concrete piers for the viaduct are also being cast at PACADAR UK's factory on the Isle of Grain, in Kent. The first 36 piers were lifted into position on top of their foundations since early summer.
Jennifer Lennon, HS2 Ltd’s senior project manager said: “HS2 will offer zero-carbon journeys from day one, but we’re also working hard to reduce the amount of carbon used in construction.
That’s why we’re applying the latest approaches from across Europe to help us cut the amount of embedded carbon in our major structures and speed up construction.
“The post-tensioned double-beam approach used here has enabled the major elements of the viaduct to be manufactured off-site - dramatically improving efficiency, safety and quality while delivering outstanding performance and durability.”
Photo Credit: HS2