Construction starts on Colne Valley viaduct deck

The HS2 Colne Valley Viaduct launch girder.

Construction of the deck on High Speed 2’s Colne Valley Viaduct has begun with the launch of the launching girder.

The 160-metre-long machine will lift concrete deck segments into position, moving forward to the next stage after a section is completed. A temporary factory close to the north abutment of the 3.4km long structure is making the segments, all of which are in subtly different shapes to accommodate the viaduct’s curves. One segment is put in place each side of a central pier, using a cantilever approach to balance the structure with two half-arches constructed simultaneously. Steel tensioning cables will be threaded through the segments to strengthen the bridge.

The launching girder was originally built in 2004 for the Hong Kong East Tsing Yi viaduct. It was specifically designed to handle complex viaduct construction. It was named Dominique in memory of Boygues engineer Dominique Droniou who played a leading role in its design and development. 

Bouyges is part of main works contractor Align JV, which is building the Colne Valley viaduct. Other members of the joint venture are Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick.