HS2 engineers have completed a key 40-metre span that will form part of the high-speed rail project’s record-breaking Colne Valley Viaduct.
The closure of the road allowed HS2 to safely bring in cranes to lift eleven 115- to 130-tonne segments into position over the road. These were then strengthened with internal steel cabling to complete the span.
To allow for the gentle curve of the viaduct, each of the one thousand segments that form the arches and deck are slightly different – and all are manufactured at a temporary factory set up close by, with direct access to the M25.
Most of these segments are slotted into place by a giant 700-tonne ‘launching girder’ – the only one of its kind in the UK.
Longest railway bridge in the UK
The Colne Valley Viaduct will be the longest railway bridge in the UK, stretching for more than two miles (3.4km) across the Grand Union Canal, River Colne and a series of lakes in the north of the capital.
The design of the viaduct is set low into the landscape with the widest spans covering only where the viaduct crosses the lakes.
Welcoming the milestone, HS2 Ltd’s Senior Project Manager, Billy Ahluwalia, said: “This is a significant milestone in the construction of the Colne Valley Viaduct and a testament to the hard work and dedication of the HS2 team.
“The viaduct will be a vital part of the HS2 network, helping to improve connectivity between London and the north and providing a low carbon alternative to car and air travel.
“I’m grateful to the local community for their patience and understanding during this important work.”
The viaduct is being built by HS2 Ltd’s main works contractor Align JV – a team made up of Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick.
Align’s Surface Operations Director, Derek van Rensburg, said: “We are proud to have completed this key milestone in the construction of the Colne Valley Viaduct.
“The viaduct is a complex and challenging project, but we are committed to delivering it safely and on time. I’m grateful to the team for their hard work and dedication, and to the local community for their continued support.”
Photo and Video Credit: HS2