High Speed 2 (HS2), building Britain’s brand new high speed new rail link, has released images and details on their latest design of shaft vent covers for the tunnel under the Chiltern Hills.
Building HS2 has many challenges, especially in trying to reduce the impact of the railway infrastructure on the overall landscapes. Working in partnership with main works contractor Align JV (formed by a joint venture between Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick), design partners Jacobs and Ingerop-Rendel, architects Grimshaw and landscape designers LDA, HS2 has revealed the creative design of vent covers planned to be built at the village of Chalfont St Peter.
To seamlessly fit in with the surrounding environment at Chalfont St Peter, a building of similar design to the local barns will be constructed.
As can be seen in the photos, it’s hard to tell the structure’s true purpose. As a shaft for the tunnels below, the five shafts will provide ventilation and access for emergency services if needed.
Two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) are now working on drilling out the 18,000 cubic meters of material estimated to be excavated out of the new tunnels.
Once the TBMs have passed under the shafts, work can continue on fitting them out. Work to dig out and lay the concrete walls has already been completed.
To stop congestion and large volumes of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), an access road from the site to the A413 Amersham Road was built, along with a holding area to keep waiting lorries off the road. Much of the chalk extracted from the new tunnels will be used in reshaping the site once work is complete, reducing vehicle movements and emissions.
HS2 Ltd’s Project Client Director Rohan Perin said: “The excavation at Chalfont St Peter shows how much progress we have already made in delivering the Chiltern tunnels. Topped with a headhouse inspired by the style of local barns and agricultural buildings, the shaft is one of the few elements of the tunnel which will be visible above ground level and shows just how seriously we are taking our responsibility to protect the landscape and natural environment.”
Align Project Director Daniel Altier added: “I am delighted with the progress we have made with the Chalfont St Peter shaft and the fact that we have been able to put in place measures to limit disruption to the local community.
“We are very conscious to ensure that any permanent structures on the project fit into the surrounding landscape and the Chalfont St Peter headhouse is no exception.”
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