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Balfour-Vinci JV make huge concrete reductions for A38 underpass

80% reduction in the amount of concrete needed for A38 underpass on HS2

The Balfour Beatty | Vinci JV have dramatically slashed the amount of concrete needed for a dive beneath the A38 as a part of the HS2 project.

Net savings will equate to 70,000m3 of concrete and will see around 420,000t less carbon emitted during construction of the project.

Under updated plans the cutting will now see retaining walls reduced by a quartering length from a previous distance of 1.6km.

In finding a significant reduction in the levels of concrete needed for the project, the joint venture have also cut out a swathe of machinery from the project, improved the visual appearance of the cutting and delivered a positive impact by minimising the disruption to the local community.

The new designs reduce the visual impact of this section of the HS2 line as well. The updated version of the cutting includes sloping earth banks that will allow for wildlife habitats and landscaping.

One of the biggest benefits of the new design is that the diversion of the Fulfen Wood watercourse is shorter.

HS2 Ltd senior project manager Simon Hinsley said: “As we’ve been developing the detailed design for HS2, it’s vital that we try to minimise impacts and get the best solution for the communities near the new railway line. We listened to the community back in 2017 and changed the design from viaduct to cutting, and we’re pleased that these further updates bring more benefits, both for the local community and the environment – better visuals, less carbon from concrete, shorter construction period and more environmental features.”

BBV head of stakeholder engagement Andy de Bell said: “We’re pleased to confirm these new and improved design changes, which we’ve introduced after working closely with the local community.

“This new design will see the HS2 line pass underneath the A38 and neighbouring railway line, bringing significant environmental and community benefits. We’ll need to work on the slip road to the south to deliver these changes, which we understand will cause some localised disruption. However, we’ll do everything we can to minimise any impact as much as possible. Phased traffic management and signposted diversions will be in place during this phase of the work.

“We’ll continue to make sure the local community is kept updated, providing more detail on the works before they begin and during construction. There’ll also be opportunities in the near future for local residents and businesses to attend community drop-in sessions, where they can find out more about what’s going on in their area.”

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