Planned viaduct design for HS2 over canal at Wormleighton


Views sought on proposed design of 62.5metre span for high speed railway

HS2 Ltd has revealed the first images of the Oxford Canal Viaduct it is planning to build between Banbury and Daventry.   They are seeking the public’s views about the proposed design of the viaduct.

The three prestressed concrete spans will take the railway across the canal, towpath and a country lane near the village of Wormleighton.   The viaduct would be 62.5metres in length.

It is one of 15 viaducts and bridges across the central section of the HS2 route which is being designed by HS2’s main works contractor EKFB.

HS2 Ltd say the viaduct has been designed to be as open as possible to improve the environment for boaters and walkers, allowing views across the landscape and the horizon. The design combines a simple overall form with a special focus on materials for the parts of the structure that are close to the canal and its visitors. Rough-cut masonry features in the design where it faces onto the canal and towpath. HS2 say that this is to give a sense of design continuity and as a nod to architectural heritage of the canal.

An online design engagement event has been launched today to gather feedback from the community.    HS2 are keen to ascertain people’s views on whether the masonry finish used on the wall in front of the abutment should also be extended to the two sets of piers that support the structure.

HS2 Project Client Director, Ambrose McGuire said: “The Oxford Canal Viaduct is one of eight key design elements on the central section of the HS2 route and I’m pleased to see the amount of thought that’s been put into the design. The building of the canals revolutionised transportation and helped to build modern Britain so it’s great to see how our contemporary design includes a nod back to those eighteenth-century pioneers.

“We’re keen to hear what the community has to say and I would encourage anyone with an interest in the bridge to have a look at the designs and let us know their views.”

EKFB Technical Director, Janice McKenna said: “We were given the challenge of designing a structure that would sit as lightly as possible above the canal, while being low enough to protect views across the countryside.

“That’s why we came up with the idea of lengthening the span over the canal to bring in light, while keeping the continuity of the towpath and using the same kind of rough-cut masonry that is such a feature of the existing canal bridges. I hope the community like the designs and look forward to hearing their views.”

The Oxford Canal was opened in stages between 1774 and 1790.   The 75 mile long canal is one of the oldest in Britain and was designed to bring coal from the Coventry coalfields to Oxford and the River Thames.

You can see more details of the proposed designs here.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

Reader's opinions
  1. Will Hemmings   On   28/01/2022 at 8:21 pm

    Thank you for giving the opportunity for public feedback on detailed design considerations for the HS2 viaduct over the Oxford Canal at Wormleighton. The following comments are made in recognition of the terrible loss to the historic and aesthetic importance of the district through which this section of HS2 passes, namely an area dotted with ancient deserted villages, not a road within earshot (believe me, I have walked every mile of the route of HS2 from London to Birmingham in 2018); and from Wormleighton to Ladbroke the sights and sounds of this century fade away into a bygone era that must extend through hundreds of years. That HS2 has seen fit to cut a swathe through the centre of this unique landscape is an act of cultural vandalism of extreme magnitude. I really don’t think the difference of a few feet in the length or choice between materials of a viaduct over the Oxford Canal will make any difference to the landscape brutally destroyed there by HS2 LTD. That company and the Government which authorised its Powers will be held to account for this act of destruction I can assure you
    Will Hemmings 28 January 2022

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