Construction of the HS2 viaduct in west London has just passed over the Grand Union Canal, its 200-year-old predecessor that also links London to Birmingham.

(c) HS2

You can see the railway passing over the canal.

Both the canal and the railway were built under powers granted by Act of Parliament; arrive in the Birmingham district of Digbeth; and with similar lengths – HS2, 140miles; the canal, 137 miles – were two of the largest civil engineering endeavours of their time.

The Colne Valley Viaduct passes over the lakes, themselves the result of mankind’s activity as they are flooded former gravel pits and sunken arable fields, and so far 755 of the viaduct’s 1,000 deck segments have been installed creating 39 spans over land and water for 1.5 miles.

HS2 Ltd senior project manager Billy Ahluwalia, said: “I pay tribute to the tremendous dedication and professionalism of the whole team who’ve maintained high standards of safety and quality, working over land and water, come rain or shine to deliver the viaduct’s 56 piers along a 2.1-mile stretch of HS2’s route. Their remarkable achievement will be for all to see across this century and well into the next.

“Our work to install the viaduct’s remaining deck segments continues at pace, followed by the installation of the deck edge parapets and noise barriers, before we hand over to Rail Systems for the next major phase of the build programme.”

Viaduct construction is led by HS2’s main works contractor Align JV – that includes Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine and Volker Fitzpatrick.


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