High Speed Two (HS2) in the UK has commenced work on two of the longest cuttings on the new high-speed rail project.
The HS2 project, which currently supports around 28,000 jobs, will help enhance transport links between London, the Midlands and the North.
With 1.3 million cubic metres of material set to be excavated in stages over the next three years, the 4.1km Barton Hartshorn to Mixbury cutting is claimed to be the longest cutting of the project.
Designed to run across the boundaries between Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, the cutting will be up to 11m deep and crossed by six road, foot and bridleway bridges.
Expected to be a mix of clay, sand, gravel and limestone, material from the excavation will be reused on the project to build embankments, noise barriers, and landscaping.
Recently, excavation began at the nearby Calvert cutting, taking the line for 3.4km past the Buckinghamshire villages of Calvert Green and Steeple Claydon. It will follow the route of the disused Great Central Railway.
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The cutting will take the line under four road bridges, as well as the new East West Rail route that is also currently under construction.
To create the Calvert cutting that will be up to 9.7m deep, nearly 685,000m³ of material will be excavated. It will enable to add extra local railway lines alongside the HS2 main line.
Other major cuttings under the project are also underway, including one at Turweston in Northamptonshire, Waddesdon in Bucks, and Ladbroke, in South Warwickshire.
HS2’s main works contractor EKFB, a joint venture between Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall, is involved in the construction of the two cuttings.
HS2 project client Rohan Perin said: “Some of the longest cuttings will be in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, reducing noise and visual impact for local residents while carrying the new high speed line under a series of road and railway bridges.”