Closely following the route of the new high speed railway, the road is designed to carry around 500 vehicles a day – helping to get people, equipment and materials to rural construction sites.
Built by main works contractor EKFB (Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial and Bam Nuttall), the first 11 mile (18km) section of the road links a construction site at Calvert in Buckinghamshire with adjoining sites in Aylesbury and Greatworth in Northamptonshire.
This section will help take HS2 vehicles off local roads around the villages of Edgcott and Gawcott.
Further sections, to the north and south, are expected to be completed in the coming weeks. This will come ahead of a major increase in the amount of earthworks activity over the summer as the focus turns to building the cuttings and embankments that will carry the railway.
Once construction of the railway is complete, the intention is that the road will be ripped up and removed, with the areas alongside the line landscaped. Some sections of the road could be repurposed for local transport links.
HS2 Ltd project client Rohan Perin said: “The completion of the first stage of the temporary access road is a really important milestone as work continues to ramp up across the central section of the HS2 route. In rural areas it can be a major logistical challenge to get people, materials and equipment to all our sites and a headache for local road users. That’s why I’m looking forward to the completion of the next stages and the benefits it will bring to both the project, and the local community.”
EKFB is set to shift 30 million cubic meters of material during the construction of the central section of HS2. Most of it will be reused locally for embankments and landscaping. A separate series of local ‘haul roads’ – made of compacted gravel – will be used by heavy earthmoving machinery and the articulated dumper trucks transporting this material.
EKFB senior project manager Juan Rodriguez said: “The temporary road, which is supporting the build of HS2 and a section of the East West Rail line, will help ease traffic and congestion around the surrounding villages and provide an efficient way to move people and materials around the site quickly and in the shortest distance. Eventually, we’ll be able to transport these things between all EKFBs sites.”