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Steel completes for first HS2 tunnel facility

October 7, 2020 by NSC in News
HS2 has passed another major milestone at the high-speed rail project’s first tunnel site, with the completion of structural work on the temporary precast factory which will produce wall lining sections for the 10-mile long Chiltern tunnels.

Working on behalf of Align, a joint venture between Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick, a total of 2,400t of structural steelwork at the south portal site, next to the M25, has been delivered and erected by Caunton Engineering.

Two giant tunnelling machines – named Florence and Cecilia – are due to launch next year. The 170m-long, 2,200 tonne machines will spend more than 3 years underground and use 112,000 concrete segments to line the tunnels, moving at a speed of 15.6m a day.

A second steel-framed precast plant will be used to cast sections for the nearby Colne Valley Viaduct. Once work is complete, the precast plants will be disassembled and the whole site will be landscaped with material excavated from the tunnels and trees planted in order to blend it in with the surrounding countryside.

HS2 Ltd’s C1 Senior Project Manager, Mark Clapp said: “The precast plant will play a crucial role in delivering the Chiltern tunnels. By casting all 112,000 segments on site, we can significantly reduce the number of HGVs on local roads, reducing disruption for the local community.

Daniel Altier, the Align Project Director, said: “Caunton Engineering is delivering the structural steel for all the buildings at our south portal site, 15 in total. This includes two tunnel precast factories, the tunnel workshop and warehouse, and the viaduct precast factory.”

Matthew Shimwell, Caunton’s Managing Director said:“We are thrilled to be working with the Align team in helping to deliver this key part of infrastructure work. The project is an excellent example of how early engagement with the supply chain brings real value to a project.”

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