Home » HS2 breaks ground on UK’s longest railway bridge

HS2 breaks ground on UK’s longest railway bridge

by Sion Geschwindt
HS2 breaks ground on UK's longest railway bridge

Work has begun on the HS2 project’s Colne Valley Viaduct which is set to be the UK’s longest railway bridge.

The 880-metre long structure will be made from 1000 prefabricated concrete segments that will slot together like LEGO bricks.

A 700-tonne machine will lift each segment for the arched bridge into place – each the size of a double decker bus.

The machine, known as a ‘launching girder’, has been shipped in pieces from Hong Kong, having been used on a number of projects there and in Singapore. It has been put together by engineers on site over the last few months and is the only of its kind operating in the UK.

The viaduct will cross the flood plain of the River Thame (a tributary of the Thames), just outside Aylesbury, carrying high-speed HS2 trains.

The viaduct construction is being led by Align JV – made up of Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick.

Mark Thurston, HS2 Ltd’s chief executive, said: “It is yet another big milestone for HS2 Ltd.

“Once complete, this record-breaking structure will form a key part of the HS2 railway – helping to deliver better connections across the UK, free up rail capacity on the train network, and offer passengers a zero carbon travel option.”

Daniel Altier, Align project director, added: “The start of the erection of the deck segments marks the latest important milestone for Align, relating to the construction of the Colne Valley Viaduct.    

“There has been a lot of hard work involved to get us to this point, and the achievements so far are a great example of what collaboration and excellent teamwork can deliver. I would specifically like to acknowledge the contribution from our supply chain partners – VSL, Kilnbridge, KVJV, VolkerStevin, Tarmac, Sendin and Vaughan Plant Haulage.” 

Main image: The launching girder machine ready for action (credit: Align Jv/HS2)

Read next: HS2 unveils modular design for Thame Valley Viaduct

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