HS2 redesign aims to speed up construction

Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV) has redesigned a stretch of the High Speed ​​2 (HS2) line, making it faster to build.

The joint venture has revealed it is scrapping plans for concrete retaining walls along a stretch of track in Warwickshire. An open cut with grass slopes will be used instead, reducing the amount of labor and volume of materials needed.

BBV is building 90km of fast rail infrastructure between Long Itchington in Warwickshire and Handsacre in Staffordshire as part of the £100bn HS2 project. The line will run through South Cubbington Wood between Cubbington and Weston under Wetherley – a move which has drawn criticism from local opponents.

The new designs raise the track in this area by 2 meters, eliminating the need to excavate 150,000 cubic meters of soil. The updated route also requires 60,000 cubic meters less concrete and steel, with less heavy machinery needed, making this section of the line faster to build.

Two green footbridges will be created to connect the existing trails so that people can access the wooded area. Native grasslands and hedgerows will be planted on the bridges, creating wildlife passageways and habitats for invertebrates, bats, birds and reptiles.

Approximately 12 hectares of new woodland will be planted near South Cubbington Wood, along with an additional 18 hectares of trees in the wider Cubbington area.

Julia Baker, Head of Biodiversity at BBV, said: “Wherever we operate, we work tirelessly to reduce the impact of our work on the local community and the environment. This updated design demonstrates that commitment. We have created a solution that reduces our carbon footprint and provides habitats for wildlife and green connections for locals. »

HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson added the government’s vision is for HS2 to build a ‘cleaner and greener’ transport system without harming the environment.

“This project embodies that vision, reducing the carbon equivalent of removing 8,500 heavy goods vehicles from local roads; shaping our designs to ensure wildlife thrives along new tracks; and ensure that residents can continue to enjoy the rich forest nature surrounding their village,” he said.

Meanwhile, earlier this week BBV apologized for late payments to workers on the West Midlands part of the HS2 scheme.

Alice F. Ponder