UK’s HS2 hits construction milestones

High Speed 2 (HS2), the UK’s largest infrastructure project, has announced it has reached a number of engineering milestones.

HS2's under construction Chiltern tunnel. Photo: HS2 HS2’s under construction Chiltern tunnel. Photo: HS2

The Chiltern tunnel, a significant component of the  rail network, said two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have completed 75% of their excavations on the project.

The TBMs were launched in the summer of 2021, by the Align joint venture of Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick.

Northolt tunnel progress and segments production

In London, substantial progress has been made on the 13.5km Northolt tunnel, which connects Old Oak Common to West Ruislip. The first 1.6km of this twin-bore tunnel has been successfully excavated, and its completion is anticipated in 2025.

The tunnel construction is overseen by the Skanska Costain Strabag joint venture.

Looking ahead, two additional TBMs are scheduled for launch from the Victoria Road crossover box in Ealing in winter 2024.

The construction of over 83,000 tunnel segments is underway at a newly established facility in Hartlepool Docks in northern England.

This facility, previously used for building oil rigs, has been transformed by Strabag into a state-of-the-art segment production site, equipped with automation and reinforcement capabilities.

Progress on railway bridges and tunnels

HS2 also recently announced that a 5,600-tonne bridge was manoeuvred beneath the Coventry to Leamington line.

Using specialised jacks designed by Freyssinet, the bridge was placed onto a guiding raft slab and shifted 47m into position.

This bridge, while serving the ultimate purpose of facilitating HS2 train movement, will initially be used by construction vehicles to alleviate road traffic in the region.

Similar successful bridge sliding operations have occurred at other locations, including Lichfield and Streethay.


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Andy Brown Editor, Editorial, UK - Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786224 E-mail: [email protected]
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Catrin Jones Deputy Editor, Editorial, UK – Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 791 2298 133 E-mail: [email protected]
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