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HS2 gives first look at its largest ‘green bridge’

by | 13 Mar 24 | Nature & Biodiversity, News

HS2

Images of the largest ‘green bridge’ of the HS2 infrastructure project have been released. It’s one of 16 bridges of its kind that HS2 says, alongside five ‘green tunnels’, will bring together 33km2 of new wildlife habitats alongside the railway.

The 99m-wide bridge will cross the high-speed railway close to the village of Turweston near Brackley, with hedgerows and vegetation to be planted on top. HS2’s senior project manager, Elizabeth Longinotti, says it will “keep communities connected, while supporting wildlife and biodiversity on either side of the railway.”

There have also been “tremendous” efforts to cut the carbon output of the structure, says Tony Wehby, project director for EKFB, the main works contractor which was part of the design team. A combination of better than expected ground conditions and design optimisation led to a 42% reduction in its carbon footprint. Removing 102 deep piles and opting for shallow foundations instead has reduced the amount of concrete and steel needed.

Turweston green bridge

CGI showing view along the road over the Turweston green bridge

“This has benefitted the delivery programme and reduced costs – we’re really pleased with this outcome. We look forward to seeing the structure come to life when its steel beams arrive in the summer for the next phase of construction,” says Wehby.

Thirty-six steel beams will support the structure, with pre-cast concrete slabs forming the deck. Over the top, 2,700m3 of earth will then be landscaped, with the hedgerows, shrubs and other vegetation planted last.

Green bridges are rare in the UK, says Longinotti. But the 1.5 mile-long Turweston bridge is “important” for HS2 to deliver on its environmental commitments. Seven million new trees and shrubs are being planted as part of the first phase that will link London and Birmingham.

Most of the 16 green bridges will also have a combination of local roads, footpaths and farm access routes. Five green tunnels are also being built, with some up to one-and-a-half miles long.

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