The world’s longest box bridge slide recorded in UK on HS2 railway line project

During the Christmas break, our teams from Freyssinet UK, Freyssinet France and Hebetec completed the world longest slide Autoripage® of a bridge structure, to enable the future HS2 (High Speed 2) railway line to cross over the M42 motorway in Warwickshire.

The site team worked around the clock to move the 12,600-tonnes bridge structure over 165 metres to enable to HS2 line to cross over the motorway at Marston. It is believed to be the world’s longest box slide.

Exceptional commitment on HS2 to operate a sliding bridge of over 165 metres in less than 48 hours

Over the last six months, the giant 86 metre-long structure was built on land next to the motorway. Freyssinet designed and implemented the sliding mechanism, utilising its Autoripage® technique for heavy handling, allowing the box to be pushed into place over the M42 motorway on a guiding raft over 165 metres. The operation began on Christmas Day, with the site team working around the clock to move the 12,600-tonnes bridge structure to its final position. The operation was completed in under 40 hours at a speed of four metres per hour, from Saturday 24 to Monday 26 December, finishing well ahead of the programmed schedule.

« Heavy handling operations are part of Freyssinet’s regular activities, but it is always with a great deal of passion and pride that we carry out a project of this magnitude. A big congratulations to all the teams who worked tirelessly during this end-of-year period to contribute to this great success! ». Thibaut Hilly, Freyssinet France Major Projects Director

A sliding method patented by Freyssinet

Autoripage® is patented method developed by Freyssinet, enabling the installation of a structure entirely prefabricated on a nearby base and sliding it to its final position onto bentonite grout, after completely clearing the ground. After sliding completion, backfilling is carried out to re-open the route to traffic. The method is particularly appropriate for railroad crossing.

This construction method, which allowed it to be moved into place in one movement meant only two one-week closures of the motorway over a 12-month period, dramatically reducing disruption for road users.

HS2 railway line is one of the biggest infrastructure construction projects in the world

HS2 is Britain’s new high speed rail line being built from London to the North-West, with HS2 trains linking the biggest cities in Scotland with Manchester, Birmingham and London. HS2 is the largest infrastructure project in Europe and the most important economic and social regeneration project in decades.

The new high-speed line will run between the North West and the South East, stopping at Manchester, Birmingham and London with trains continuing on the existing network to Scotland and elsewhere. 274 miles of new high-speed line is already under construction between Crewe and London, employing nearly 30,000 people.

HS2 will begin running between 2029 and 2033 when Phase One is complete and services will expand as new sections of the network are built.

Discover our other references in heavy lifting and sliding techniques 

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Learn more about the whole project on HS2 website