HS2’s first viaduct in Birmingham makes huge progress

New images show huge progress on HS2’s first viaduct in Birmingham - first concrete pour for Curzon 3 Viaduct decks

HS2 has released new images as work ramps up on the 300 metre-long viaduct that will bring high-speed trains into Birmingham's Curzon Street Station.

More than 2,000 cubic metres of concrete have been poured to create the first two 90 metre viaduct deck structures, with construction of two further deck sections well advanced.

The concrete was delivered and poured during night-time operations to minimise impacts on local roads. In total more than 11,000 cubic metres of concrete will need to be poured to complete the whole viaduct.

A total of 26 piers, between five and six metres tall, have also been built to carry the viaduct, with four huge steel tripods currently under construction to support the viaduct over Digbeth Canal.

Over the next few months, once the concrete has been poured on each section, the shuttering and scaffolding will be removed, the viaduct sections will receive precast parapets and other finishing works will start.

Further sections of the viaduct will be built in the same way, and next summer, the span over the canal will be completed using jacks to slide 34 temporary steel girders, each measuring 38 metres, below the four steel tripods to support the formwork and further deck construction.

Curzon Viaduct No.3 is part of a series of five connected viaducts between Washwood Heath and Curzon Street Station in central Birmingham. 

On the approach to the station, the viaduct widens from a single deck to four separate decks, spanning 65 metres at the wideset point, to carry seven tracks to the platforms. Work on Curzon Street Station will begin next year.

David King, senior project manager at HS2, said: “It’s fantastic to see this iconic viaduct taking shape in central Birmingham. 

“This is one of our busiest construction sites, as we now reach peak construction on key HS2 structures across the Midlands, with over 9,750 people in the region working on the project.

“The design of the viaduct is part of our vision to maximise social and economic development opportunities around Curzon Street Station. Widening to four separate decks near the station will maximise daylight underneath the viaduct, creating opportunities for a usable and flexible public space.”

The viaduct is being built by HS2’s Midlands contractor Balfour Beatty VINCI, with a team of more than 150 people including specially trained joiners, steel fixers and scaffolders from the local area, including five apprentices. 

The steel tripods have been manufactured by steelwork specialists Severfield, based in Bolton.

Meanwhile, HS2 has also completed the last section of earthworks that will carry East West Rail (EWR) services between Oxford and Cambridge over the new high-speed line, near the village of Calvert in Buckinghamshire.

To reduce disruption for the community and speed up construction, HS2 contractors have built two bridges, one underpass and 3.4km of adjacent earthworks for EWR where the two projects cross.

The main bridge deck of the intersection bridge - which weighs the same as 25 double decker buses - will carry local and regional trains over the top of one of the longest cuttings on the HS2 project. Two smaller bridges and one underpass will take local roads and a footpath across EWR.

Joint working was particularly important during the realignment of Gawcott Road, when problems emerged with a gas main diversion. 

HS2 worked closely with EWR throughout, so that the installation of communications cables – required to allow EWR to enter service on time - could continue around the delayed utility work.

With the large bridges and earthworks handed over, HS2 contractors can now focus on completing the Calvert cutting – which runs roughly north-south and will stretch for more than two miles.

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