HS2’s Bromford Tunnel completion marks milestone at Washwood Heath

A milestone has been reached in the construction of HS2’s Washwood Heath, as excavation work for the 3.5-mile Bromford Tunnel reaches completion.

Washwood Heath, one of HS2’s largest construction sites at 65 hectares, will house HS2’s Depot and Network Integrated Control Centre.

Additionally, the site’s development will open up a 24-hectare brownfield area for commercial use, creating over 1,000 new jobs for the local community.

The 22-metre deep tunnel portal is now ready for the two 1,600-ton tunnel boring machines (TBMs) which will create the twin-bore tunnel from Water Orton in North Warwickshire.

Washwood Heath’s portal is the deepest of four on the Midlands section of the HS2 route, and saw a two-year ground reinforcement program by SB3, a joint venture of Bachy Soletanche and Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering, starting in November 2021.

This portal marks the beginning of a 750-metre cut-and-cover structure currently under construction by SB3, where HS2 trains will travel below ground before rising onto viaducts leading to Birmingham’s Curzon Street Station.

Tim Cook, project manager at Balfour Beatty VINCI said: “The Bromford Tunnel portal at Washwood Heath will act as the gateway that will take HS2 trains in and out of Birmingham city centre. At a depth of 22 metres, completing this huge excavation operation is a significant moment for the project, and for the region.

“The team is now focussed on the next challenge on this vast site – a 750-metre-long cut and cover structure next to the portal, where HS2 trains will emerge from the tunnel and travel below ground level, before heading into Birmingham.”