Water Orton viaducts

HS2 has revealed new designs for two viaducts near the village of Water Orton in Warwickshire to create new green public spaces

In Spring 2020, HS2 asked local people for their views on the design of the Water Orton viaducts, and much of the feedback focused on improving the landscape around the structure of the railway.

Suggestions included creating a green space for the village which could provide a recreational area and an observation spot to view wildlife, as well as a pathway for walking and cycling.

As a result, HS2’s landscape architects and engineers from Systra and Mott MacDonald working closely with architects Weston Williamson + Partners have developed new plans for a more connected and accessible area.

The section of the HS2 route where the two Water Orton viaducts are located is known as the Delta Junction, a triangular section of line where the new railway curves west towards Birmingham and runs north towards Crewe and beyond. The Water Orton viaducts link the curve that heads west towards Birmingham with the mainline heading north, and are needed in this location to carry the railway across a network of existing motorways, roads and footpaths.

The area between the two Water Orton viaducts, which was previously the site of the Old Saltleians Rugby Club, will be re-designed to provide bigger, better more joined-up habitats such as species-rich grasslands and native species tree planting.

The new landscape design will provide a new setting for the viaducts which are designed with slim support piers to enhance their design and reduce shading of the areas over which the railway will pass.

‘A greener way to travel’

HS2’s design director Kay Hughes, said: “HS2 will not only provide a greener way to travel for people, it also provides an opportunity for us to enhance the natural environment in many areas along the route through our landscape design.

“We are committed to bringing out the character of the landscape to create areas where people can connect to their local environment and enjoy nature.

“We’re pleased to have a committed, multidisciplinary team of engineers, architects and landscape architects working on the project, to design integrated structures and new green spaces for people to enjoy.

“As we develop the detailed design for the railway, we are listening to feedback from communities like Water Orton, and also continue to work with them and local authorities to explore further opportunities for local connectivity through pedestrian access and cycling routes.”

Maxime Corlay, landscape architect at Systra, commented: “Our goal for the landscape design around Water Orton is to tie the proposed viaduct structures into the local landscape and create opportunities to enhance it.

“We propose to recreate woodland blocks and frame hedgerows to conserve the agricultural character of the area.

“There are also plans to re-meander an existing watercourse and take advantage of the land under the viaducts in a sustainable way.

“These new designs protect existing habitats and connect them with newly created areas, and the impact of the railway is reduced through planting that will integrate HS2 into the local environment.”

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