On Monday 19th October 2020, HS2 revealed its latest designs for the Edgcote and Lower Thorpe Viaducts, as the high speed rail project began a four-week online engagement event for communities in Northamptonshire.
Set low into the landscape, the 515m long Edgcote Viaduct will carry the railway across the floodplain of the River Cherwell, to the South of Chipping Warden. At between six and eight metres high, the viaduct will be supported by 20 pairs of concrete piers, which will be largely hidden by existing hedgerows and woodland.
The viaduct will pass close to the site of the medieval Battle of Edgcote. Initial archaeological investigation along the route of the viaduct has not found any evidence of the battle and further investigation will be completed before construction begins.
There will also be two new wildlife sites close to the where the viaduct crosses the floodplain, with new and enhanced fen, marshland, and meadow, along with new woodlands planting. The schemes which total 7.6 ha will create valuable new habitats for insects, bats, newts, and other amphibians.
The Lower Thorpe Viaduct will be 210m long and will also be set low into the landscape with seven weathered steel spans carrying the railway across Banbury Lane, to the South of the village of Thorpe Mandeville.
By using weathered steel, it will echo the tones of the surrounding countryside, as well as reducing the impact of the structure. There will also be three more new wildlife sites, totalling 9.5 ha.
HS2 Project Client Director Ambrose McGuire said: “The start of today’s public engagement is an important step in the development of the Edgcote and Lower Thorpe viaducts. Set low into the landscape, the designs of both structures are heavily influenced by their location and our determination to reduce the impact of construction on the surrounding communities.
“That’s also why we are delivering five major new wildlife sites alongside the viaducts with significant areas of new woodland and opportunities for valuable new meadows and wetland habitats.”
The designs have been drawn up by HS2’s main works contractor EKFB – a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial and Bam Nuttall – working with design partners Arcadis and architects Moxon.
EKFB Technical Director Janice McKenna said: “It is a huge privilege to be responsible for the design and delivery of these two viaducts and to create a legacy for future generations. EKFB is using innovative, digital techniques to create designs that meet the needs of the future railway, while balancing the community, environmental and engineering requirements of designing lasting infrastructure. Our design solutions are created with people in mind and we are using construction methods that limit the impact on residents.”
The online public engagement event opened on Monday 19 October and will last for four weeks.
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