The 150m-long structure – nicknamed ‘The Bellingham Bridge’ after the performances at the FIFA World Cup by local footballer Jude Bellingham – is designed to celebrate the area’s industrial heritage and make a striking addition to the city’s skyline.
The Curzon 2 bridge, which is part of the approach to Birmingham’s new Curzon Street Station, includes a 25m-high truss that will be equipped with a light installation designed by British artist Liz West.
The bridge is the tallest structure in the sequence of viaducts and structures that make up the Curzon Street Approaches. The bridge consists of a gently curved truss in weathering steel, which carries HS2 over the Victorian brick rail viaduct below.
It will be assembled offline and then launched from one end and in one piece across the viaduct in what is set to be among the longest bridge launches ever delivered in the UK. It will be launched at a height of about 17m above the ground, so the whole structure will be 40m high.
HS2 Ltd’s design director Kay Hughes said: “Our design ambition for the Curzon 2 bridge is to create an elegant, iconic structure, fitting of its prominence on the Birmingham skyline, creating a legacy for HS2 and contributing positively to the city’s identity day and night.
“The curved truss design celebrates Birmingham’s industrial heritage, and we’re pleased that we’ve been able to engage a prominent artist to work with our architects to create a distinctive lighting installation, which will be a striking addition to Birmingham's city skyline."
The design for the Curzon Street Approaches section of HS2’s Phase One is being developed by a design joint venture of Mott MacDonald and Systra and architect Weston Williamson & Partners, all working for HS2’s civils contractor Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV) joint venture.
Nick McGough, lead architect for the BBV Design Joint Venture said: “Conceptually, the Curzon Street Approach Viaducts are a series of moments along a coherent thread of structures which will bring HS2 trains into Birmingham. The Curzon 2 bridge, above its V-shaped piers, represents a special and unique moment when the herculean engineering of HS2 will be on full display as it crosses the Victorian viaduct below. This has only been possible with the close collaboration between contractor, engineer, architect and artist.
“The curved truss is made from weathering steel, a highly robust material that will pick up tones from the surrounding area as its protective patina develops while reducing maintenance costs across the lifespan of the high-speed rail line.”
A number of refinements have been made to the design, which is now set to be submitted to Birmingham City Council. These include how the truss has been designed to ‘wrap’ around the viaduct, extending the bottom of the steel to wrap underneath the viaduct deck and forming a visual connection to the steel girders of the adjacent structures. The nodes where the diagonal members meet will have curved corners to provide longevity to the steelwork whilst softening the silhouette of the bridge.
The width of the viaduct deck itself has also been increased by four metres, allowing the bridge to carry three parallel high speed rail tracks over the existing east-west rail line. Closer to Curzon Street, the tracks will split even further to serve the seven platforms being built at the station.