An initial concept for the Colne Valley viaduct, which may help inform the final design and spark discussion within the wider community, has been unveiled by HS2 Ltd.
Independent architect Martin Knight drafted the preliminary viaduct concept, having consulted with the Colne Valley Regional Park Panel and HS2 Ltd's own Independent Design Panel.
Crucially, the concept document considers how the viaduct might be "sensitively and aesthetically sited" within the Colne Valley, while also addressing the complex technical requirements of the infrastructure project.
The hope now is that this initial legwork might benefit future design and technical specification from Align, the principal civil engineer for the Colne Valley viaduct and the northern portal of the Chilterns Tunnel. Align is expected to consult with the local community in spring 2018.
Underpinning Martin Knight's design are 14 factors, established by HS2 in collaboration with its Independent Design Panel. Key considerations included that the design fit the landscape, that views and "landscape flow" are maintained, and that the viaduct itself is well proportioned and elegant.
The concept document also explores innovative solutions to additional concerns; among them transparent noise-reduction barriers with vertical lines visible to bats and wildfowl to reduce impacts.
Hs2's proposed route will pass through woodland and lakeside alike, all of which dates back to the end of farming and quarrying in the region, and it will sit alongside the Chiltern railway.
"The construction of the Colne Valley HS2 viaduct will have a significant impact on the Colne Valley area," said Jim Barclay, Chair of the Colne Valley Regional Park Panel.
"The Colne Valley Panel which is drawn from local stakeholders, is very pleased to have been consulted and through a series of workshops, Panel members have been able to understand the design principles for the viaduct. The Colne Valley Regional Park Panel looks forward to further engagement with HS2 and Align over the actual viaduct design."
Sadie Morgan, Chair of the Independent Design Panel, added: "We are delighted that this imaginative and carefully-considered concept has been published, and can form the basis for wider discussions with the communities around the Colne Valley and all those who value and use the spaces and amenities within it.
"The Independent Design Panel will continue to work hard to ensure that the viaduct’s final design respects its location and communities, whilst being a shining example of great design that Britain can be proud of."