HS2 today unveiled plans for the 3.4km Colne Valley viaduct in Buckinghamshire, which it said will be one of the longest in the UK, aiming to address key criteria such as fitting the landscape and maintaining views.
It said the concept will "help inform development of its final design and form the basis for wider discussions with local communities". Along with the design, the concept document also suggests extra features including noise-reduction barriers with vertical lines to be visible to bats and wildfowl to reduce potential collisions.
The plan has been to draw up a range of options for how the viaduct can be "sensitively and aesthetically" sited within the Colne Valley, which also tackling the technical needs of the project.
HS2 programme director Mike Hickson said:
The Colne Valley viaduct will be one of the longest viaducts in the UK, and one of HS2’s best-known structures.
He added: "We have every confidence that our contractor, Align, will continue this collaborative approach and engagement, as they now develop their own scheme and then detailed design of this significant structure."
It was developed by specialist architects Martin Knight in consultation with the Colne Valley Regional Park Panel and the HS2 Independent Design Panel, comprised of designers, sustainability experts and architects.
The concept will help to guide further design work by Align, the main civil engineering contractor for HS2 between the Colne Valley viaduct and the northern portal of the Chilterns Tunnel.
Align plans to consult the local community on the designs in the spring.
Chair of the Colne Valley regional park panel, Jim Barclay, said:
The construction of the Colne Valley HS2 viaduct will have a significant impact on the Colne Valley area.
The Colne Valley panel which is drawn from local stakeholders, is very pleased to have been consulted and through a series of workshops, panel members have been able to understand the design principles for the viaduct.
Questions had been raised earlier this week over potential delays and extra costs to HS2 after Carillion entered liquidation, as the firm had been awarded work for the £56bn project. However, HS2 said it would be unaffected, with Carillion's joint venture partners picking up the slack.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling told the Commons yesterday that the two other firms, Kier and Eiffage, would be "taking over responsibility for the project", with apprentices and staff being transferred across, so the project "will continue uninterrupted".