HS2 Foundation Work Completed for UK’s Longest Railway Bridge

HS2 Ltd’s main works contractor, Align JV has installed the last of 292 concrete piles, forming the foundations for the UK’s longest railway bridge at the site of HS2’s Colne Valley Viaduct.

Once complete, the 2.1-mile bridge will carry the high-speed rail line over a collection of lakes and waterways on the north-west outskirts of London.

HS2 Bridge
Survey work during construction of the piling for the Colne Valley viaduct

In parallel to the construction of the foundations, work has also commenced on 56 piers and the deck. More than 500 meters of the viaduct structure is now complete.

HS2 Ltd’s Project Client, David Emms said:

“Once complete, HS2 will transform journeys across the UK, help to boost the economy and support the UK’s transition to net zero.

“The completion of the piling for the Colne Valley Viaduct is a major achievement for our whole team and marks the end of almost two years of hard work. With pier construction and deck assembly also well underway, the viaduct is fast becoming one of the most impressive and recognisable parts of the project.”

To deliver 66 piles in the lakebed, the team had to construct over a kilometre of temporary jetties. These jetties are also used to transport materials during the construction of the piers and viaduct deck to keep vehicles off local roads.

HS2 Bridge
Piling work for the Colne Valley Viaduct from the temporary jetty

Some of the piles are installed up to 60 metres deep into the ground. On top of each group, a concrete pile cap will support the pier, which will hold the weight of the bridge structure above.

The main deck of the viaduct is being built in 1,000 separate segments at a temporary factory nearby. The structure is then assembled using a bridge-building machine that lifts each piece into position before shifting itself forward to the next pier.

Align’s Surface Operations Director, Derek van Rensburg said:

“Completing the piling is a great achievement for both Align and the team at KVJV, working over the lakes and waterways across the Colne Valley. We were able to complete the piling with no significant impact on the environment, a great result for the whole team.”

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