New report outlines solutions for HS2 construction via historic waterways
Updated: Aug 9
Contractors should work with proven and responsible marine engineering businesses when constructing the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail line over historic waterways due to the level of complexity involved, according to a new report published by The Rothen Group.
‘HS2 and the waterways: The construction solution using floating plant’ aims to inform HS2 contractors about the challenges they face building the line across canals, rivers and waterways. The report emphasises that considering the specialist nature of the work and the HS2 project’s high profile, contractors should only engage responsible marine, civil and environmental engineering businesses with a proven track record in this field.
Ian Rothen, founder of The Rothen Group, a national independent civil engineering and maintenance business servicing UK waterways, is keen to highlight the challenges of construction in this environment. He says: “Before construction can even start, contractors need to ensure they understand the rules and regulations associated with working on waterways. This incorporates a range of different factors, from towpath weight restrictions to safety standards that are unique to canals and rivers. A detailed comprehension of these issues is crucial to the success of the HS2 project.”
The report highlights the logistics of moving materials to a site with limited land access, and demonstrates the benefits of a floating plant solution. These are perfect for accessing narrow, shallow waters, expertly designed to get close to the bank of the waterway and providing unrivalled capabilities for construction teams. The paper also outlines the best options for potential issues in Phase 1 and Phase 2 of HS2. Issues covered include Phase 1 facilitation works, such as laying high voltage cables along towpaths, and land restrictions and working over waterways during Phase 2 – for example, when a bridge needs to be demolished.
The report also details The Rothen Group’s previous work with Western Power Distribution and Morgan Sindall, replacing and removing existing cables with new higher voltage cables in the Birmingham area. Finally, a Q&A with Ian Rothen addresses potential issues, such as disruption to pleasure boaters, mobilisation times, and the environmental benefits of using a marine hire solution.
Ian concludes: “For every challenge covered in the report, we have offered a legitimate solution. Construction of HS2 will face numerous obstacles, so it is vital contractors work with businesses that have a proven track record working on the waterways.
“All eyes are on the construction of the new line, meaning contractors cannot afford to accept anything less than excellence when it comes to construction on the canals, rivers and waterways during Phase 1 and Phase 2 of HS2.”