HS2 cuts their carbon footprint with new designs

HS2 the other week revealed the final designs for the Thame Valley Viaduct and the construction methods in which it will be placed. They will be using pre-fabricated construction methods that are forecasted to reduce their carbon footprint by an estimated 66%. The River Thame just outside of Aylesbury is planned to run HS2 trains between London to Birmingham. The Thame Valley is one of the 15 viaducts designed by HS2 Ltd’s main work contractors who are working with their design partners to come up with a planned design. The design they have come up with needed to be suitable for the environment as the track is meant to run across a river and the surrounding wetlands. Therefore the viaduct will be 3m above the ground with thirty-six 25m long neat and even spans that will cross the wetlands.

By Learning from the high-speed rail projects in Spain, the team was able to cut down the amount of carbon by simplifying the structure. The production of steel and concrete has been historically a huge contributor to carbon emission and the new lighter-weight structure is expected to save 19,000 tonnes of embedded carbon compared to the old structure. Thomas Garcia, the HS2 Ltd’s Head of Civil Structure said that “HS2 trains and stations will be zero carbon from day one, providing a cleaner, greener way to travel and helping the fight against climate change.” It is good to see that HS2 is trying to keep to its promise by not just lowering its carbon footprint when it opens but also during its construction.