Removing and reducing embankments and viaducts on East West Rail
We’re considering ways we can reduce or remove embankments and viaducts on East West Rail.
During our 2021 non-statutory consultation, we presented outline details about where the new railway might need to be ‘in cutting’ or ‘on embankment / viaduct’ and displayed the ‘reasonable worst case’ scenario. Following responses to this consultation, we took a look at ways we could reduce the height of proposed embankments and viaducts – or remove them altogether.
The work we’ve been doing since the consultation has helped us to identify some potential opportunities to reduce or remove viaducts and embankments, by:
• Taking the railway under roads in cuttings instead of building viaducts over them
• Making minor diversions to potential route alignments to allow the railway to be lowered
• Diverting the roads over the railway on smaller overbridges instead of building viaducts over existing roads
Our analysis looked at ways to refine the design whilst ensuring that the environmental impacts, land take and costs are reduced and/or limited to reasonable and acceptable levels. The potential opportunities require further analysis and assessment against various factors and criteria including the railway operation, flood risk and ground conditions before the design can be finalised.
This work is helping us prepare designs that are less prominent, reducing potential visual impacts. We believe these initiatives could allow us to remove completely or reduce the height of approximately 50% of the embankments or viaducts (by length) compared to what was shown in the 2021 consultation.
The design of the railway is progressing and details of our proposals for these features will be presented as part of the statutory consultation, where residents, communities and other stakeholders will have an opportunity to share feedback. We expect to take place in the first half of 2024.