The impact of the high speed rail project, particularly in the Chilterns, remains a controversial topic and HS2 Ltd is seeking to tread sensitively.
It has today revealed an outline concept for the Colne Valley viaduct in Buckinghamshire. This will “help inform development of its final design and form the basis for wider discussions with local communities”, it said.
The 3.4km-long Colne Valley Viaduct will be built by Align, a contracting joint venture of Bouygues Travaux Publics, VolkerFitzpatrick and Sir Robert McAlpine as part of its £965m C1 contract on phase one of HS2. Align’s contract also includes the 15.8km-long Chiltern Twin Tunnels.
The concept for the Colne Valley Viaduct has been developed by independent specialist architect Martin Knight in consultation with the Colne Valley Regional Park Panel, and the HS2 Independent Design Panel, consisting of architects, designers and ecologists.
The viaduct concept document explores a range of options and ideas for how it can best be sited within the Colne Valley, while addressing the technical demands of the project.
It will now be up to Align to take these design proposals to public consultation in spring 2018.
Align will be responsible for developing the final design and constructing the viaduct according to technical specifications and within an agreed cost envelope.
The area of the Colne Valley through which HS2 passes features woods and lakes that developed when farming and quarrying ended, sitting alongside the Chiltern railway.
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. The Colne Valley Regional Park Panel looks forward to further engagement with HS2 and Align over the actual viaduct design.”
Sadie Morgan, chair of the HS2 design panel, said: “We are delighted that this imaginative and carefully-considered concept has been published, and can form the basis for wider discussions with the communities around the Colne Valley and all those who value and use the spaces and amenities within it.”
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. We are pleased and grateful for the work done by Martin Knight Architects, the Colne Valley Regional Park Panel and the HS2 Independent Design Panel to produce this potential scheme design. 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.”