HS2 Engineers begin assembling Thame Valley Viaduct

HS2 Engineers begin assembling Thame Valley Viaduct

The Thame Valley Viaduct, a major railway viaduct on the HS2 line is to begin assembly, representing a step forward for the viaduct design.

The bridge has been manufactured entirely off-site in a factory, which is a departure from traditional viaduct designs. Manufacturing the 880 metre long viaduct off-site has the benefit of boosting safety and efficiency on site, whilst cutting the carbon footprint by around a third.

The 68 giant concrete piers – each weighing 42 tonnes are being cast at the PACADAR factory in Kent before being transported by road to the site.

The viaduct once complete will cross the River Thame flood plain, just outside Aylesbury and carry HS2 trains at speeds of 360 km/h between London and Birmingham. It will be set low into the landscape with the underside of the viaduct, just 3m above the ground and 36 even spans crossing the wetland underneath.

Tomas Garcia, HS2 Ltd’s head of Civil Structures said: “Thame Valley may not be HS2’s biggest viaduct, but it does represent a major step forward in terms of its structural design. The post-tensioned double-beam approach used here has enabled the whole viaduct to be manufactured off-site - dramatically improving efficiency, safety and quality while delivering outstanding performance and durability.

“Once complete, HS2 will offer zero-carbon journey across the UK, but structures like this will also help us develop new ways to cut embedded carbon in construction that can be adopted across the rest of the industry in the future.

“That’s why it’s great to see the first piers in place as our construction partners begin to assemble this ground-breaking viaduct.”

Traditionally, viaduct beams are secured together above each of the piers with a concrete diaphragm which is cast in situ. The larger pre-cast beams that will be used at Thame Valley can be secured directly to one another, removing the need for the diaphragm – and allowing every major element of the structure to be pre-fabricated.

Photo Credits: HS2 Ltd.

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