Although global deliveries have been disrupted by nationwide railway strikes, the £100bn High Speed 2 project has continued over the past week. The West Midlands in particular have seen a number of developments.
The Warwickshire enclosure is preparing
Balfour Beatty Vinci is preparing its huge Kingsbury complex in northeast Birmingham for a complex viaduct construction job. Work is currently underway to assemble a 54m long gantry crane, which will be used to lift heavy concrete segments.
The joint venture, which is building 90 km of infrastructure for the fast rail link between Long Itchington (Warwickshire) and Handsacre (Staffordshire), will start production at the site in August, with 2,742 concrete segments making up nine viaducts.
These will form a key part of Delta Junction, a section of line that allows HS2 to split and run trains to London, Birmingham and Crewe.
The segments will be produced from mixed material in a concrete plant located at the 550,000 square meter Kingsbury site. Up to 1,000 people will soon be working on the complex, with up to eight segments to be produced each day at its peak.
The first images of the complex emerged this week and BBV’s delivery program manager Jo Chell said it was “incredible to see the progress we are making”.
“We have incorporated the principles of modern construction methods by creating factory conditions for fabrication and modularization, providing us with a rich legacy of skills and learning for the future,” she added.
Control Center Designs Revealed
Meanwhile, the first design images have been revealed of Washwood Heath Depot, which will operate as a maintenance facility and the main control center for the entire HS2 network.
The scheme, located northeast of Birmingham city centre, has been designed to celebrate engineering and provide sustainable workspaces, in addition to outdoor amenity areas for staff.
Designed by HS2’s Engineering Delivery Partnership, the depot will feature natural lighting, rooftop solar panels, reused stormwater runoff, sustainable drainage, renewable energy and low-carbon materials.
Each building has a purpose-designed landscape theme, outdoor social spaces for staff, and areas that restore biodiversity and broader habitat connections.
Accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists has been incorporated into the design, along with charging stations for electric vehicles, parking for bicycles and motorbikes for staff and visitors, and parking for people with reduced mobility.
Russ Dale, HS2 Engineering Delivery Partnership project manager, said: “These images are part of an ongoing design process, which will be refined and developed over the coming months by our team of experts. Before submitting the designs to the local council for approval later this year, we are sharing them with the community and asking people for feedback on areas of our design.
Carbon savings near Lichfield
HS2 designers have cut over 400,000 tonnes of carbon from a section of the scheme near Lichfield, Staffordshire by reducing the length of wall structures for the Streethay Village Railway from 1.6km to just 420 meters.
This will save around 70,000 cubic meters of concrete, or the equivalent of 6,700 truckloads of mixer trucks, according to the project managers.
The railway will cross Streethay in a trench, which will now largely be formed of sloping earth berms. HS2 says this will improve the line’s appearance and increase the ability for wildlife habitats and landscape planting to provide noise protection.
Simon Hinsley, HS2 Senior Project Manager, said: “We listened to the community in 2017 and changed the design of the cutaway viaduct, and we are delighted that these new updates will bring more benefits, both for the local community and the environment – better visuals, less carbon of concrete, shorter construction periods and more environmental characteristics.