HS2 secures planning permission for two major structures

View of Saltley Viaduct from railway

The final two major structures which will bring HS2 into Birmingham have been approved by local councils.

Approval has been granted for the design of two new viaducts, meaning eight key design elements on the West Midlands section of the route have now passed the Schedule 17 process.

View of River Blythe Viaduct

The 475-metre River Blythe Viaduct has got the go-ahead from Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and is designed to “skim” the agricultural landscape as it crosses the River Blythe, the floodplain and Meriden Road near Hampton in Arden.

Saltley Viaduct has received planning approval from Birmingham City Council. The 225-metre structure will take the B4144 road over the HS2 line, the Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal, the Birmingham and Derby rail line and the River Rea. It will be an important crossing point, providing access to the city centre and the wards of Nechells and Alum Rock.

In feedback from the local community, a wider pathway to make room for cyclists, additional lighting, and replacing stainless steel material with weathering steel panels and a perforated pattern, were key requirements that have been incorporated.

Stephen Powell, HS2 Ltd’s head of delivery said: “Achieving these two KDE planning approvals is a significant milestone for the project. It’s been hugely important for us to engage and consult with communities as we reach the final design stages of these key structures in the West Midlands, and we’re very grateful for the feedback they have provided.

“Our designers have incorporated local feedback in all of these Key Design Element structures, including enhanced environmental features, use of materials and additional amenities such as footpaths and cycling tracks in the areas around them, ensuring that we have the best outcome for everyone.”

Nick McGough, Director at Weston Williamson + Partners, and Lead Architect for the Balfour Beatty VINCI Design Joint Venture, which is designing HS2 in the West Midlands, said: “All of HS2 needs to be designed sensitively but KDE structures in particular were identified through the parliamentary process due to their scale and significance. The whole team has worked incredibly hard for over 6 years to engage local communities in a process which has involved Local Authorities, key stakeholders and the HS2 Independent Design Panel.

“The approvals received for the River Blythe Viaduct and Saltley Viaduct complete the set of KDEs in the West Midlands which will bring HS2 into central Birmingham, whilst contributing positively to local communities. For the River Blythe Viaduct this includes landscape enhancements whilst at Saltley, active travel is encouraged with dedicated pedestrian and cycleways separated from road traffic.”