STRABAG has been awarded the contract to produce approximately 36,000 precast concrete segments for the tunnel construction works along the HS2 (High Speed Two) railway line. The segments will be produced in a state-of-the-art factory to be built and operated by STRABAG UK Ltd by the end of 2022 in the port of Hartlepool in the north of England.
The project, commissioned by Skanska Costain STRABAG JV (SCS JV), will be realized on a leased industrial site at Hartlepool Docks to be developed into a production factory, storage and transport facility. With delivery starting in spring 2023, the high-quality tunnel segments will be used on one of the HS2 construction sites in London: the eastern section of the Northolt Tunnel, consisting of a 5.6-km long, twin-tube tunnel between Green Park Way Ventilation Shaft and Victoria Road Ancillary Shaft.
Hartlepool’s excellent transport infrastructure, with access to both the rail network and port facilities, was an important factor in the choice of location, explains Andrew Dixon, Commercial Director STRABAG: “The required aggregates can be delivered with the necessary flexibility, and the tunnel segments can be transported to the new HS2 logistics terminal near Willesden Junction by rail in an environmentally friendly manner. STRABAG’s established regional presence is also an advantage here. Our existing precast factory for the Woodsmith Mine project is not far away. This enables us to transfer our know-how to the team at the new Hartlepool facility at an early stage, even before the factory is completed. In the future, over 100 new skilled jobs will be created here.”
Construction work on the Hartlepool facility will begin in January 2022 with the redesign of the site to meet the requirements of segment storage and rail logistics. The focus will then turn to the state-of-the-art building services engineering, which will set new standards even in a global comparison. Both the fabrication of the segments in a complex carousel system and the production of the steel reinforcement mesh and ladders are almost fully automated. In addition, telemetrically controlled robotic systems will be used to weld the reinforcement cages. This will bring the production time for one tunnel segment down to just around 10 minutes.
Production is scheduled to start in December 2022 so that the first of the up to 10-tonne concrete segments should be ready for delivery in April 2023. Already during the construction phase STRABAG will keep its carbon footprint low by using predominantly electric machinery.
Besides its contribution to the two southern HS2 lots as part of the SCS JV, the construction of the Woodsmith Mine near Whitby and the ground engineering works situated at the A63 in Hull, the South Ruislip Vent Shaft and the Victoria Road Cross Over Box in London for HS2, the Hartlepool project is the STRABAG Group’s most recent contract in England and another opportunity to demonstrate its capabilities.