The United Kingdom is creating a world-class high-speed rail network known as High Speed Two (HS2) to support economic growth across the region and in the cities it connects, from London to those in the Midlands and North of England. The project aims to deliver a shift to low carbon transport and provide opportunities to enhance the quality of life within communities most in need.
As part of this larger project, the Wood UK Power Solutions (Transmission & Distribution) team within the Projects business unit successfully delivered a contract on behalf of Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to install three new L4m electrical towers and divert a 132kV cable route and associated fibre optic cables in Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom.
The route was diverted to enable the new train route and meet the requirement for tunnel boring machines (TBM’s) to mine under the M25 orbital motorway, which surrounds Central London to the Chilterns. Once the full network is operational, the HS2 trains are anticipated to carry over 300,000 passengers a day.
Team Wood undertook this project that enabled work to commence using the largest tunnelling machine ever applied on a UK rail project. As a result, Florence – the tunnelling machine named after Florence Nightingale – will spend the next three-and-a-half years cutting through the chalk beneath the Chiltern hills in Buckinghamshire. This tunnel will form part of HS2's first phase, which will link London with the West Midlands.
Planning for construction complexities
HS2 is the biggest construction and environmental project in Europe, and it is delivering miles of ecological and landscape investment. Therefore, the project incorporated construction complexities and stringent HS2 construction, sustainability and environmental standards.
The scope included the installation of two new L4m DT (Diversion Terminal towers), one D30 (Angle tower) and two new sealing end compounds, in addition to the removal of three existing towers. The new towers enabled SSEN to increase power supply to the TBM’s intended to drill under the M25 orbital motorway onwards to the Midlands of England and beyond.
The work comprised of various Special Engineering Difficulties, including delivering solutions for the crossing of a high-pressure water main at two locations, scaffolding, asbestos remediation and road crossings.
The project had to comply with various HS2 parameters, including sustainability reporting, vehicle compliance and omission checks, undertakings and assurances as part of commitments from the Secretary of State, environmental compliance and environmental minimum requirements. As such, the project developed a comprehensive management plan and utilised a very experienced Wood project management team that is well versed in dealing with the complexities of HS2 project requirements.
Engaging with project stakeholders
The Wood specialist environmental and traffic management team, which is part of our Consulting business unit, was activated to plan the various traffic management routes and coordinate engagement with landowners, residents and management of various environmental and ecological aspects of the project.
The project required a high-level of stakeholder engagement due to the complex interface requirements of both HS2 and SSEN. Stakeholders included Affinity Water, Kier, Fusion, Align, Buckinghamshire County Council and the Environment Agency.
The Wood project team successfully delivered the contract on time, within budget and to high safety standards, and contributed to the completion of this phase of the HS2 project, receiving positive feedback from both the primary client (SSEN) and end client (HS2). Wood Power Solutions (Transmission & Distribution) are proud to have contributed to the enabling and success of the overall portal work.