HS2 has revealed the first of 68 giant piers that will support the high speed rail project first entirely off-site manufactured modular viaduct. In an innovative construction process, every major part of 880m long Thame Valley Viaduct will be manufactured in a factory before being assembled on-site.
It is expected to cut the carbon footprint by around a third.
The huge 97 tonne beams – and 42 supporting piers will be manufactured on the Isle of Grain alongside segments of HS2’s London tunnels.
The process of constructing off-site has been a success in recent high-speed rail projects in Spain and the HS2 team has adopted a similar plan with two 25m long hollow beams per span. This process cuts the amount of carbon-intensive concrete and steel, which in turn simplifies work on site.
Welcoming the start of production, Tomas Garcia, HS2 Ltd’s Head of Civil Structures said:
“HS2 will offer zero carbon journeys from day one, providing a cleaner, greener way to travel and help the fight against climate change.
"But we’re also serious about cutting embedded carbon in construction, reducing cost and programme and improving safety, performance and durability. Thame Valley is a great example of how our contractors are embracing the latest engineering techniques to do just that.”
Once completed, the viaduct will cross the flood plain of the River Thame, carrying HS2 Trains at speeds of up to 360km/h between London, Birmingham and the North.
As well as cutting embedded carbon in terms of materials, the approach applied will require less lorries to deliver material to site, simplifying construction and cutting waste.
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