Update from Wendover HS2, September 2019

Three big issues

There are three crucial issues arising from our discussions with Eiffage Kier (EK) who have the contract to build our section of the line. We met with our AVDC Councillors to explain these to try to get AVDC engaged in the debate with HS2 / EK.

The HS2 imposed design limitations on EK means that as detailed plans are being worked up serious concerns are emerging about the practicalities of the viaduct/cut and cover tunnel mandate from HS2. EK tell us that their hands are tied by HS2.

Firstly, EK have told us that given the HS2 plans they are unable to build the line in such a way as to contain the noise generated by the trains once they are running. Up to 400 homes could find that the noise exceeds the maximum World Health Organisation limits! Ironic given that HS2 are paying for a low noise surface to be laid on the by-pass yet their own trains will break the noise limits.

Second, there is a serious concern that construction will cause irreparable damage to the natural underground water store that feeds off Coombe Hill.

Third, EK’s design for the Small Dean Viaduct is based on incorrect road traffic levels, DfT/HS2 anticipated traffic levels are higher than the current design assumptions. Widening the A413 to a dual carriageway is not possible with the planned viaduct pier positioning and it will need new A413 speed restriction as road snakes through a single viaduct span. This will lead to road congestion as traffic levels build up.

In addition to the above we have also met Fusion, a HS2 contractor, who are in charge of some of the initial works. We understand that the route of the “green” tunnel will be fenced off in the next few weeks once the crop in the fields adjacent to Ellesborough Road has been harvested. There is also the possibility of further archeological digs in the area.