The viaduct is made up of seven spans, each comprising four beams weighing up to fifty-six tonnes, which engineers lifted into position over two months to form the backbone of the structure. Each of the twenty-five-metre-long beams was built off-site and delivered overnight to minimise disruption. The deck will support the track and electrical systems, and will be installed next year, along with parapets along either side.
The viaduct is one of fifteen viaduct being built by HS2's main works contractor EKFB, which as a consortium comprising Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and Bam Nuttall. The contractor will also deliver the earthworks that will support the railway at each end.
The completed viaduct will cross Highfurlong Brook, a tributary of the River Cherwell which joins the Thames at Oxford, at a height of around nine metres. The viaduct crosses the brook and its floodplain.
Significant progress has also been made at HS2's other major viaducts over recent weeks. Engineers have poured the first concrete for the approach viaducts at Birmingham Curzon Street station, and have installed the first beams at Thame Valley near Aylesbury.
In total, HS2 is building more than 500 bridging structures – ranging from small road bridges to massive viaducts like record-breaking Colne Valley Viaduct which will become the longest in the UK and recently passed the half-way point.
Paul Cooper, HS2 Ltd's Senior Project Manager said: “Once complete, HS2 will transform journeys between London and the West Midlands, freeing up space on the busiest part of the west coast mainline and helping to boost growth around the major station sites.
“But it's also important that we reduce disruption for communities during construction. Off-site manufacturing of deck beams and out of hours delivery is an important part of that effort and it's great to see them all now in position at Highfurlong Brook.”
Sean Lang, EKFB's Project Director, said: “We're making considerable progress with our structures and earthworks and to see the beams lifted into position at Highfurlong Brook Viaduct is testament to the on-going collaborative effort of the Joint Venture and its supply chain partners. Utilising our network of internal access roads and on-site concrete batching plant, we're minimising our impact on the local communities that live close to our works.”