HS2 has created the first of 56 giant piers as construction takes place on the UK’s longest railway bridge.
The concrete piers will provide support the Colne Valley Viaduct which will cross a number of lakes on the outskirts of London.
HS2’s 3.4km viaduct will see high speed trains travelling at speeds up to 200mph on it just outside of Hillingdon and the M25.
HS2’s main works contractor Align JV set the first of the piers.
The Align JV team is made up of Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick in partnership with Kilnbridge.
The 370 tonnes, 6m tall pier was built on site by engineers using specially designed formwork to create the shape of the construct.
Every pier has been designed to support the full weight of the deck above.
Foundation work on the site commenced earlier in the year and moving forward this will require 292 piles and 56 pile caps to be built.
David Emms, HS2 Ltd’s Project Client spoke on the work the team have done on the Colne Valley Viaduct.
Mr Emms said: “The Colne Valley Viaduct will be one of HS2’s most iconic structures.
“It’s great to see how much has been achieved already.
“I’d like to thank the whole team for the huge amount of work they’ve done to get us to this point.”
Clear signs of progress on the site can be seen as four jetties have been built across the lakes.
Daniel Altier, Align’s Project Director explained how this will help make the construction of the viaduct more effective and efficient.
Mr Altier said: “I have no doubt that the viaduct will become one, if not the most striking element of HS2 phase 1 once complete.
“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 to the west of London just inside the M25.
“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.”
As part of its environmental commitments HS2 has cut the quantity of embedded carbon in the viaduct by around a third.
This has been achieved by narrowing the width of the viaduct taking lessons from the design of highspeed rail bridges in Europe.