UK: Work Begins on HS2’s Longest Cuttings

HS2’s main works contractor, EKFB – a joint venture between Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall – has started working on two of the project’s longest cuttings.

Almost two million cubic metres of material will be excavated to create the two cuttings. This is enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall more than twenty times over.

The longest will be the 2.5-mile Barton Hartshorn to Mixbury cutting, which runs across the boundary between Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Here, 1.3 million cubic metres of clay, sand, gravel and limestone will be excavated in stages over the next three years, with its deepest point reaching 11 metres.

HS2 Cuttings
Barton Mixbury start of excavation Sept 2022

The material excavated will be reused elsewhere on the HS2 project for embankments, landscaping and noise barriers.

Communities will remain connected via six road, foot and bridleway bridges.

Excavation also recently started at the nearby 2.1-mile Calvert, Buckinghamshire cutting, which roughly follows the route of the disused Great Central Railway, closed in the 1960s.

This will take the line under four road bridges and the new East West Rail route, which is also currently under construction.

The Calvert cutting will be up to 9.7 metres deep and wide enough to allow extra local railway lines to be added alongside at a later date. It will require the excavation of 685,000 cubic metres of material.

Early works at HS2 Calvert cutting.
Early works at HS2 Calvert cutting

Other major cuttings at Turweston, Northamptonshire, Waddesdon, Bucks and Ladbroke and Warwickshire are also already under way.

Rohan Perin, HS2 Project Client, said:

“Construction is now well under way across the whole first phase of the HS2 project, with almost 28,000 jobs now supported across the UK and our initial earthworks made good progress over the summer.

“Some of the longest cuttings will be in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, reducing noise and visual impact for local residents while carrying the new high speed line under a series of road and railway bridges.

“It’s great to see a strong start to work on site.”

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