HomeInfrastructureDecommissioned bridge demolished to make way for HS2

Decommissioned bridge demolished to make way for HS2

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HS2 main works civils contractor Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) has successfully demolished a disused bridge in Saltley near Birmingham. The work was carried out in preparation for the construction of the northern section of HS2’s Phase One route between London and the West Midlands.

The Heartlands Parkway bridge, which originally connected the A47 with a nearby industrial park, crossing over the Birmingham to Derby rail line as it did so, had been decommissioned for some time. It needed to be removed because it stood in the path of the HS2 line into the new Curzon Street Station in Birmingham city centre.

The demolition clears the way for Balfour Beatty VINCI to construct the one-kilometre-long Washwood Heath retained cut, and the team will start by building piling platforms for the 1,800 metres diaphragm wall, with piling works commencing later this year.

HS2’s Washwood Heath depot will also be constructed next to the railway in this area, which will be HS2’s central control centre and maintenance depot. It will include a 40,000 square metre rolling stock maintenance building, carriage wash, automatic vehicle inspection building and 14 sidings where trains can be stored overnight. 

HS2 contractor BBV demolishes an unused bridge at Saltley, Birmingham.

The construction of the Washwood Heath depot will transform the 40 hectares brown field site into the nerve centre of the HS2 network, with the added benefit of offering up to 500 long-term jobs. Three bidders have recently been invited to tender for the contract to build the depot and control centre.

Jean-Baptiste Tessier, BBV.

Construction director at Balfour Beatty VINCI, Jean-Baptiste Tessier, said:“The demolition of the A47 bridge signifies yet another milestone in the delivery of the northern section of the UK’s high-speed railway, paving the way for the new HS2 route into Curzon Street Station.

“Over the course of four weekends, our expert team safely and successfully removed the structure, working alongside Network Rail and Birmingham City Council to reduce disruption to the travelling public, wherever possible.” 

Tony Fenwick, John F Hunt Regeneration.

Operations director for John F Hunt Regeneration (Industrial), Tony Fenwick, said:“The location of the bridge was particularly unique as it crossed over seven freight and commuter rail lines and was originally constructed using over 685cubic metres of concrete, 165 tonnes of reinforcement and 250 tonnes of structural steel.

“Fifty people were involved in the precision operation each weekend, with engineers using specialist equipment, including excavators fitted with concrete pulverisers and breakers to demolish the bridge piece by piece, allowing the structural steel to be lifted away by crane. It was a great experience to help deliver such a crucial part of the HS2 project.”

Once operational, Phase One and Phase 2a will require a fleet of at least 54 trains which will be based at Washwood Heath. The 200 metres long units are designed to adapt to daily passenger changes by “doubling up” to create 400 metres long trains serving destinations beyond the HS2 network including Liverpool, Preston, Carlisle and Glasgow – via a connection to the existing West Coast main line at Crewe.

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