HS2 starts construction of UK’s longest railway bridge in Colne Valley


The UK’s state-of-the-art high-speed railway HS2 has begun work on what will be the UK’s longest railway bridge.

An expert crew of ground engineers have already sunk the first of almost 300 piles for the foundations of the viaduct, which will carry the new high-speed rail line, along with trains travelling as fast as 200mph, across lakes and waterways on the outskirts of northwest London.

Going through the Colne Valley just 10m above the surface of River Colne, Grand Union Canal and the lakes, the Colne Valley Viaduct will be 3.4 km long – almost a kilometre longer than the Forth Rail Bridge.

The viaduct will be propped up by 56 piers, with the narrower spans for approaches and wider spans for where it crosses the lakes to minimise the viaduct’s impact on the environment.

In the coming year, the engineering crew made up of Sir Robert McAlpine, Bouygues Travaux Publics, and VolkerFitzpatrick, which comprises HS2 Ltd’s main works contractor Align JV, will be driving 292 piles under the ground to strengthen the foundation of the viaduct piers.

The viaduct’s main deck will be modularly built at a nearby temporary factory and later assembled from north to south.

HS2 Ltd’s Central 1 project client Rohan Perin said: “The Colne Valley Viaduct will be one of HS2’s most iconic structures and it’s great to see work now starting in earnest. I’d like to thank the whole team for the huge amount of work they’ve done to get us to this point.”

Align project director Daniel Altier added: “I have no doubt that the viaduct will become one, if not the most striking element of HS2 phase 1 once complete. The way it will be constructed is going to be equally fascinating for engineers young and old. The sections for the deck will be fabricated at our main construction site to the west of London just inside the M25, and using a huge launching girder, the deck will be formed from north to south, along the line of the route, thereby keeping unnecessary construction traffic off the roads. I am delighted that today we have reached this important milestone in the viaduct’s construction.”

HS2 has been working with Affinity Water and the Environment Agency over the last six years to monitor water quality, which will be monitored during construction by a specialist team of engineers so that the natural environment is not harmed.


The UK’s state-of-the-art high-speed railway HS2 has begun work on what will be the UK’s longest railway bridge. Credit: HS2 Ltd | Align JV; image creation by Grimshaw Architects.

With 11 websites and newsletters covering all the key areas within the construction industry, World Construction Industry Network is the leading global construction information resource. READ ABOUT US



World Construction Network | www.worldconstructionnetwork.com is a product of GlobalData. Copyright © 2022 GlobalData. All rights reserved.