Concern has been raised by the Canal and River Trust over new HS2 proposals for bridges included in the £43bn project.
Marcus Chaloner, urban design team manager for the trust said: “How do we ensure that these huge proposals take account of the special context and character of our waterway world?
“The further north we go, we start looking at viaducts and the issues go beyond engineering and how we maintain this 200-year-old infrastructure to the visual impact and the aesthetic appropriateness of HS2 crossings. My consideration and concern is how do I persuade HS2 to give special and proper consideration to what is a relatively small span within a huge infrastructure project.”
Whilst Chaloner has offered strong support for slender, contemporary structures, he has significant doubts about the reality of these ideas continuing to the final phase of construction.
He went further: “What we’re trying to do is to establish some design principles which can be embedded in HS2’s design process which will ensure a certain quality and standard is maintained.”
The trust’s biggest concern is that the new bridges may cause disruption in the society, based upon the stigma of bridges often offering dark “hang-outs” which may encourage anti-social behaviour such as graffiti. For this reason they are hoping for a new type of design which offers narrow pathways and piers that go into the land either side, meaning that the underside of the bridge will remain light and inviting.
HS2 Ltd spokesman Alastair Cowan said: “The current images of HS2 bridges, viaducts, stations and other structures are purely indicative, designed to provide a sense of size and scale, not final design. We continue to work closely with local planning authorities, communities and interested parties along the route to ensure that the final designs are sensitively treated and appropriate for their location.”
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