HS2 plans for 'one of UK's longest viaducts' unveiled

Image source, HS2
Image caption,
The concept was developed by "specialist architects" Martin Knight

HS2 Ltd has unveiled plans for "one of the longest viaducts in the UK".

The Colne Valley viaduct concept has been developed by architects, designers and sustainability experts alongside the Colne Valley Regional Park Panel.

The park consists of more than 40 sq miles of farmland, woods and waterways to the west and north-west of London.

Mike Hickson, programme director for HS2 central, said the 2.1m (3.4km) long viaduct will be one of HS2's "best known structures".

The first phase of the HS2 network will carry trains operating at speeds of up to 250mph, connecting London with the West Midlands.

Image source, Hayes Davidson / Knight Architects
Image caption,
The design has been developed around 14 criteria, including that it is "well proportioned and elegant"

Colne Valley Regional Park contains more than 60 lakes and 200 miles of river and canal and stretches from Rickmansworth in the north to Staines and the Thames in the south, Uxbridge and Heathrow in the east and to Slough and Chalfont in the west.

The concept document for the viaduct covers a range of options as to how it can be "sensitively and aesthetically" sited within the area.

The document has been developed around 14 key criteria, set by the HS2 Independent Design Panel, which includes whether the design "fits the landscape, maintains views" and if it is "well proportioned and elegant".

The plans also explore the possibility of "transparent noise-reduction barriers" which will be visible to bats and wildfowl.

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."

HS2's main civil engineering contractor, Align, will engage with local people on the plans before developing and finalising the design.

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