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Wed December 01 2021

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Saltley bridge demolition clears the way for HS2 [– with video]

22 Oct HS2 Ltd has released a time lapse video of a bridge being demolished to clear the way for the new line.

Bringing down the A47 Heartlands Parkway bridge
Bringing down the A47 Heartlands Parkway bridge

A disused bridge near Saltley in Birmingham has been demolished by John F Hunt over the course of four weekends under the watch of HS2’s main works civils contractor Balfour Beatty Vinci Joint Venture (BBV).

The Heartlands Parkway bridge originally connected the A47 with a nearby industrial park, crossing over the Birmingham-Derby rail line and had been decommissioned for some time. The bridge needed to be removed because it stood in the path of the HS2 line into the new Curzon Street Station in Birmingham city centre.

John F Hunt carried out the demolition. Its subcontractors were Pod-Trak, which was responsible for the protection of the rail track, and Andun Engineering Consultants, which managed the temporary works design.

Tony Fenwick, operations director for John F Hunt Regeneration (Industrial) said: “The location of the bridge was particularly unique as it crossed over seven freight and commuter rail lines and was originally constructed using over 685 m3 of concrete, 165 tonnes of reinforcement and 250 tonnes of structural steel.

“Fifty people were involved in the precision operation each weekend, with engineers using specialist equipment, including excavators fitted with concrete pulverisers and breakers to demolish the bridge piece by piece, allowing the structural steel to be lifted away by crane. It was a great experience to help deliver such a crucial part of the HS2 project.”

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Now the bridge has been demolished, it clears the way for BBV to construct the 1km-long Washwood Heath retained cutting. The team will start by building piling platforms for the 1,800 metre diaphragm wall, with piling works starting later this year.

HS2’s Washwood Heath depot will also be built next to the railway here. This will be the central control centre and maintenance depot, with a 40,000m2 rolling stock maintenance building, carriage wash, automatic vehicle inspection building and 14 sidings where trains can be stored overnight.

Three bidders are in the running for the £275m train shed contract: Gülermak, a Turkish rail contractor; Dutch-owned sister companies VolkerFitzpatrick and VolkerRail; and an Anglo-French joint venture of Keltbray and Vinci Construction (trading as Taylor Woodrow).

Patrick Cawley, director of on network works for HS2 Ltd and Network Rail, said: “The A47 Heartlands Bridge demolition was a highly complex project affecting major pieces of rail infrastructure: although the bridge had been out of use for some time, it crossed the busy Birmingham to Derby line. Our asset protection engineers worked with HS2 Engineers to allow them to safely complete the work while causing the least amount of disruption possible."

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MPU

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