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First images of the planned HS2 Oxford Canal Viaduct revealed

First images of the planned HS2 Oxford Canal Viaduct revealed
The planned HS2 Oxford Canal Viaduct is one of 15 viaducts and bridges across the central section of the HS2 route.

HS2 Ltd has revealed the first images of its planned Oxford Canal Viaduct and is seeking views from the local community about the design of the viaduct between Banbury and Daventry. Set low in the landscape, three prestressed concrete spans will take the railway 62.5 meter across the canal, towpath and a country lane near the village of Wormleighton.

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 (made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial, and Bam Nuttall), working with architects Moxon and design partners ASC (a team comprising Arcadis, Setec, and Cowi).

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.

The design features rough-cut masonry where it faces onto the canal and towpath. This is to give a sense of design continuity and provide a nod to the architectural heritage of the canal. One of the questions in the online questionnaire is 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.

A CGI artist's impression of the Oxford Canal Viaduct with a masonry leaf finish on the piers
A CGI artist's impression of the Oxford Canal Viaduct with a smooth concrete finish on the piers
CGI artist's impression of the planned Oxford Canal Viaduct with a masonry leaf finish on the piers (left) and a smooth concrete finish on the piers (right).

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.”

Oxford Canal Viaduct Aerial Map
A map showing the route of the railway, the location of the Oxford Canal Viaduct and suggested planting plan

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 online design engagement event to gather feedback from the community can be found at https://bit.ly/3xdK8io, and it ends on 30 April.

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