HS2’s first Birmingham viaduct pier completed

25 January 2023

HS2 has revealed images of a construction milestone in Birmingham city centre, with the completion of the first giant V-shaped pier for the 300 metres long viaduct that will bring high speed trains into the new Curzon Street Station.

The five-metre-tall structure is the first pier to be installed for the ‘Curzon No. 3 Viaduct’, which will be the final approach to HS2’s new seven platform station in the city centre.

In total, 30 piers will be installed for this viaduct, with heights varying between five and six metres above ground level. This includes four steel tripod piers erected to span over the Digbeth Branch Canal.

To cut carbon, a steel industry by-product - ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS) has been incorporated into the pier’s manufacturing as an eco-friendly concrete alternative to a traditional concrete mix. Also known as slag sand, GGBS will reduce the embedded carbon of the piers by more than 60 per cent, while ensuring the structure will remain operational for over 120 years.

HS2’s senior project manager for Curzon Street, David King said:  “It’s fantastic to see this first viaduct pier complete on the Curzon Street site, which starts to bring the design vision for this iconic structure to life. Construction on this site is supporting hundreds of skilled jobs in the region, and once built, Curzon Street Station will put Birmingham at the heart of the new zero-carbon high speed network.

“We’re also pleased to see eco-friendly materials being used in the construction method, supporting HS2’s ambition to cut carbon across the project.”

Over the last year, HS2’s main works contractor for the West Midlands, Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) have been carrying out foundation works on site to prepare for the installation of the piers, with the deepest pile reaching 34 metres below ground.

Each pier will take up to 4 weeks to be fully installed on site, with the tallest pier reaching up to 6m above the ground. After the piers are in place, teams will begin to form the deck spans connecting the piers using system falsework and formwork with the longest span between each pier stretching over 28 metres across the site.

Georgios Markakis, Balfour Beatty VINCI’s section manager said: “The progress we’re making at our Curzon Street site is clear to see, following the completion of the first viaduct pier. It’s a really proud moment for the team and everyone who’s helped to prepare the site over the last couple of years.”

The viaducts were designed through a Design Joint Venture of Mott MacDonald and Systra and Architects Weston Williamson + Partners, all working for BBV.

Pictured: First pier of the Curzon 3 viaduct with Birmingham skyline

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