Project developer HS2 Ltd said that community feedback has inspired the new designs for Aston Church Road Overbridge, which will span the high-speed rail line connecting Saltley, Washwood Heath and Nechells in Birmingham.
Initial designs were shared with the public in 2021. Since then, local feedback has inspired changes that will provide a wider walkway - creating enough space for cyclists - and an improved lighting strategy.
Public feedback has also resulted in the stainless steel finish being replaced with weathered steel panels incorporating a perforated pattern to maximise light and views. The aim is to make the bridge feel warmer and improve pedestrians’ experience. The side of the bridge has also been lowered in sections to improve views.
In addition, the design of the landscaping has been revised. HS2’s senior landscape design manager Steve Fancourt said: “We want key HS2 structures like the Aston Church Overbridge to blend with the local surroundings and enhance and connect green spaces. This area of Birmingham is very urban, but we believe existing wildlife corridors, such as the Birmingham and Warwick Canal and the River Rea, can support wildlife movements and improve biodiversity.
“Our landscape design, incorporating community feedback, will also include native woodland trees such as silver birch, shrubs such as hazel and hawthorn, and wildflowers and grasses around the structure.”
LED lighting has now been included in the lighting strategy. The proposal provides increased lighting levels for pedestrians and cyclists whilst reducing light spill to trains below. The lighting is also intended to protect wildlife by decreasing overall light pollution.
Nick McGough, lead architect for the BBV Design Joint Venture said: “Community feedback has been essential in developing our design for the Aston Church Road Overbridge. We have balanced challenging technical constraints in developing a robust but elegant bridge whilst seeking every opportunity to both enhance the user experience and increase biodiversity through our adjoining landscape proposals.
“Importantly, this bridge is a key element of wider enhancements which HS2 will provide in the locality, providing better pedestrian and cycle connectivity for the local community which will help support longer-term sustainable economic growth for the area.”
Aston Church Road Overbridge is located two miles north-east of Birmingham city centre. The original bridge has been demolished because extra space is needed for the HS2 line to pass through. The new bridge will connect to the existing road network.