High Speed 2 (HS2) main works civils contractor Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV) has successfully demolished a disused bridge in Saltley near Birmingham in preparation for the construction of the northern section of the Phase 1 route between London and the West Midlands.

The Heartlands Parkway bridge originally connected the A47 with a nearby industrial park, crossing over the busy Birmingham to Derby rail line and had been decommissioned for some time.

It needed to be removed because it stood in the path of the HS2 line into the new Curzon Street Station in Birmingham city center.

Now the bridge has been demolished, it clears the way for BBV to construct the 1km-long Washwood Heath retained cut, and the team will start by building piling platforms for the 1,800m diaphragm wall, with piling works commencing later this year.

HS2’s Washwood Heath depot will also be constructed next to the railway in this area, which will be HS2’s central control center and maintenance depot, including a 40,000m2 rolling stock maintenance building, carriage wash, automatic vehicle inspection building and 14 sidings where trains can be stored overnight.

The construction of the Washwood Heath depot will transform the 40ha brown field site into the nerve center of the HS2 network, with the added benefit of offering up to 500 long-term jobs. Three bidders have recently been invited to tender for the contract to build the depot and control center.

BBV construction director Jean-Baptiste Tessier described the bridge demolition as “yet another milestone” in the delivery of the northern section of the railway.

He said: “Over the course of four weekends, our expert team safely and successfully removed the structure, working alongside Network Rail and Birmingham City Council to reduce disruption to the traveling public, wherever possible.”

HS2 Ltd and Network Rail director of on network works Patrick Cawley added: “We kept passengers on the move over the affected weekends, following close collaboration with our train company partners and Balfour Beatty Vinci.

“The A47 Heartlands Bridge demolition was a highly complex project affecting major pieces of rail infrastructure: although the bridge had been out of use for some time, it crossed the busy Birmingham to Derby line. Our Asset Protection Engineers worked with HS2 Engineers to allow them to safely complete the work while causing the least amount of disruption possible.”

Contractors working with BBV to deliver the work included John F Hunt (Regeneration), which was responsible for the demolition of the bridge. Its subcontractors were Pod-Trak who were responsible for the protection of the rail track, and Andun Engineering Consultants which managed the temporary works design required for the demolition.

Once operational, Phase 1 and Phase 2a will require a fleet of at least 54 trains which will be based at Washwood Heath.

The 200m-long units are designed to adapt to daily passenger changes by “doubling up” to create 400 meters long trains serving destinations beyond the HS2 network including Liverpool, Preston, Carlisle and Glasgow – via a connection to the existing West Coast Main Line at Crewe.

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