Wendover Dean foundation works, via HS2

HS2’s pioneering low-carbon viaduct

A 450m-long pioneering low-carbon viaduct, at Wendover Dean, is being constructed through HS2’s EKFB joint venture, with piling having already started. The viaduct will become the first major railway bridge in the UK to be built with a ‘double composite’ structure, which requires staggeringly less carbon-intensive concrete and steel in comparison to a more traditional design. This innovative ‘double composite’ design has influences from structures on the latest French high-speed TGV lines.

The development process for the viaduct came from the collaborative works of the Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall (EKFB)consortium, working with design JV partner Arcadis, Setec and COWI (ASC), and specialist architects Moxon.

Beginning this summer, the project has seen an expert team of ground engineers establish a foundation for the structure, constructing 63 concrete piles. This work will then allow further developments to be implemented, seeing piers as tall as 14m high being assembled and filled on site, after being shell cast beforehand.

Preparing these shells externally and then transporting to the construction site will effectively reduce disruptions for local residents as it affords for less work on the site itself. This innovative method is accompanied by further contemporary methods, such as the use of two steel girders sandwiched between two layers of reinforced concrete to form the bridge spans. In doing so, the structure of the bridge will be sturdy yet hollow, as opposed to using more conventional solid pre-stressed concrete beams.

By utilising this approach, there have been estimates of 7,433 tons of carbon being saved throughout the construction process, aiding in HS2’s commitment to halving embedded carbon in construction. With the Government’s ambitions for net-zero by 2050, projects such as this ne viaduct highlight the progressive new methods involved with rail construction.

Peter Oosterveer, CEO of Arcadis, said:

“Transport accounts for nearly a third of global carbon emissions, and it is crucial that our industry continues to pioneer new ideas and approaches that support carbon reduction.

“Being able to draw on best practice examples from all around the world is critical when it comes to ensuring the long-term social, environmental and economic sustainability of all the projects in which we are involved.”

HS2 Project Client Rohan Perin, said:

“We’re also serious about reducing the amount of carbon we use during construction, and Wendover Dean is a great example of how we’re using the latest engineering techniques to do just that.”

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