High Speed 2's Water Orton Viaducts Redesigned for Sustainability and Environmental Concerns

Posted on 27 January 2021

In Spring 2022, HS2 asked people in local communities for their views on the design of the Water Orton viaducts. The feedback that was brought back on this design focused on improving the landscape around the structure of the railway. Suggestions for the design also included creating a green space for the village, providing a recreational area and an observation area to view wildlife, including a pathway for walking, and cycling.

Revisions made to the design of High Speed 2's Water Orton viaducts are a significant step towards addressing environmental concerns and ensuring that the project meets the highest standards of sustainability. HS2’s section of the route where two of the Water Orton viaducts are located is on a triangular section of line where the new railway will curve west towards Birmingham and run north towards Crewe. The Water Orton viaducts will link the curve that heads west towards Birmingham where the mainline heads north, these are needed in this location to carry the railway across a network of existing motorways, footpaths and roads.

Architects and engineers involved in the project, from Mott MacDonaldSystra and Weston Williamson + Partners, have taken into account the feedback received during the public consultation stage and have responded with a design that takes into account the impact on local wildlife habitats, whilst also looking at improving connectivity. 

Landscape architect at Systra, Maxime Corlay, commented; “Our goal for the landscape design around Water Orton is to tie the proposed viaduct structures into the local landscape and create opportunities to enhance it.

“These new designs protect existing habitats and connect them with newly created areas, and the impact of the railway is reduced through planting that will integrate HS2 into the local environment.”

Slim support piers added to the viaducts not only enhance their design but also reduce the shading of the areas over which the railway will pass. The revised design also includes landscaped areas that provide green public spaces, wildlife habitats, and a pathway for walking and cycling. These features will not only mitigate the impact of the viaducts on the environment but also provide additional benefits to the local community.

BBV's plans to minimise construction impacts in the area demonstrate a commitment to sustainable construction practices. Creating this has taken HS2 haul roads for transporting material, manufacturing the segments of the viaducts in a factory outside the area, and using sustainable alternatives to cement in the construction of the structures. These steps will reduce the project's carbon footprint and minimise disruption to the local community.

HS2 Design Director, Kay Hughes' commented on the project, highlighting the importance of enhancing the natural environment in many areas along the route through landscape design. The project provides an opportunity to create green spaces that people can connect to and enjoy, contributing to the well-being of the local community and the natural environment.

Revisions made to the design of High Speed 2's Water Orton viaducts, and BBV's plans to minimise construction impacts, demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and responsible construction practices. The project provides an opportunity to enhance the natural environment in the area and create benefits for the local community.

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