HS2 Reveals First Images of Midlands Tunnel Site

HS2 Ltd has unveiled the first images of the launch site for the tunnel boring machine that will dig the 1-mile twin bore tunnel under the Long Itchington Wood east of Royal Lemington Spa and southeast of Birmingham.

HS2 Long Itchington Wood tunnel portal
HS2 Long Itchington Wood tunnel portal

The launch site is managed by the BBV Joint Venture (Balfour Beatty Group and VINCI Construction). Current work on the site, which measures 1 square kilometre, includes large and deep excavation. 250,000 cubic metres of material are being excavated in layers before being deposited locally to create the embankments for the line.

The tunnel boring machine that will dig this tunnel is being manufactured by German tunnelling specialist Herrenknecht. It is due to be delivered to the site in Warwickshire in early 2021. It will begin tunnelling in summer 2021 and complete the job in mid-2022. The diameter of the tunnel will be 9–10 metres.

BBV will build two tunnels on this stretch of the route, this one and the Bromford Tunnel. This section will also have 100 bridges, 35 viaducts, 36 cuttings and 70 bridge structures.

David Bennett, Delivery Director, HS2 Ltd, said:

“The Long Itchington Wood Tunnel north portal site is a key site on the Midlands section of the HS2 route, and it’s great to see work progressing well in preparation for the arrival of the tunnel boring machine next year.

“The tunnel in this location goes under Long Itchington Wood specifically to preserve a section of ancient woodland. This forms a key element in how we are managing environmental impacts through the design of the railway. Along with 32 miles of tunnel, HS2 will also be criss-crossed by over 150 bridges and underpasses on Phase One, including 16 specially designed ‘green bridges’ covered in planting, and a green corridor alongside the route will integrate HS2 into the landscape.”

The tunnel boring machine will spend five months creating the first bore, after which it will be removed at the south portal reception box and taken back to the north portal, from where it will begin the second bore. Much more the TBM support modules will be drawn back through the first bore before being placed on the cradle for the second bore.

HS2 Phase 1 will have a total of 32 miles of tunnels.

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