The revised plans incorporate local feedback focusing on environmental sustainability, landscape integration, visual connectivity and public access.
HS2's main works contractor, Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV), supported by a design joint venture of Mott MacDonald and Systra together with architect Weston Williamson & Partners, have gathered local feedback about the 425m-long viaduct over the last year.
BBV will construct a total of 16 piers to carry the viaduct 10m above ground, crossing over Station Road, Bayleys Brook, Heart of England Way Walk and the local floodplain. Construction refinements have reduced the size of each pier by as much as 17% for single piers and 28% for double piers, giving the structure a lighter appearance. Responding to feedback about the look of the viaduct, a section at Station Road will be finished with a bespoke pattern, referencing the local history of the area.
Understanding the landscape context was a key focus of the design, with the team aiming to create a viaduct that ‘reflects and reveals’ itself within the landscape. Planting and species selection was another key focus. Other features include a realignment of Bayleys Brook to increase habitat for fish, aquatic invertebrates and potentially water vole. Design changes have also reduced the size of the railway embankment running parallel to Bayleys Brook by 75m, improving the resiliency of the area to flooding, and enhancing views through the viaduct to the wider landscape.
To improve connections, the Kenilworth Greenway will be extended and options for cycling and bridleway extensions are also being considered.
HS2 Ltd’s senior project manager for Balsall Common, Alan Payne, said: “Over the last couple of years, we’ve worked closely with the community and local councillors to incorporate their feedback on Balsall Common Viaduct as much as possible. We’re confident that our plans respect and enhance the local history and natural environment of the area, and will provide new green areas for people and wildlife to enjoy.”