HS2 & Tunnels

TUNNELS – WHAT DO WE KNOW?

Tunnel Reports – (8/1/2015) new research supports that the Colne Valley route should be tunnelled.

Late November 2013 – the government has released it’s decision on compensation/assurances for tunnelled areas – HS2 has not bothered to contact us to let us know but we found this link here

HS2 Ltd promised in 2012 to release information on tunnelling. In October 2013 they have finally released reports that can be found on their website here.

The non-technical summary pdf can be downloaded by clicking here.

Although our campaign’s stance is STOP HS2 it is important that we understand the impacts of the proposed route within each community/area. Ruislip will now have a 2.7 mile twin bored tunnel (as originally recommended by HS2 engineers but ruled out by the previous Secretary of State Philip Hammond) from Northolt to West Ruislip.

Likely configuration as used for HS1

The tunnel will run under the Chiltern Line for the majority of the route but in places will run under homes, gardens, green spaces and businesses. There will also be a large tunnel ventilation shaft constructed in Ruislip, probably on brownfield land near the old Express Dairy site. The short length of the tunnel will exacerbate concerns in West Ruislip and Ickenham where there will be a tunnel portal. Peer reviewed evidence clearly indicates louder noise when trains exit tunnel portals.

Construction risks: Government will state a low risk to residents as the tunnel is bored. However, the experience of High Speed 1 showed that unpredicted tunnel collapse can and does occur, with residents of Stratford very fortunate not to be injured during two documented collapses.

stories here and here

Construction costs: It is well documented that HS1 became the most expensive railway largely because of the cost of tunnels in London. It is also known that government aims to reduce construction costs to enhance the business case and limit the number of tunnels this time. This will not be acceptable and appropriate mitigation will be fought for in West Ruislip and Ickenham regardless of costs. If the fanciful forecasts and predicted benefits have any credibility, then the maximum environmental mitigation is affordable.

The previous documented cost of providing a tunnel through Ruislip was put at £350m more than the route consulted upon last year. Recent reports in the press suggesting a cost of only £50m more appears highly dubious and raises questions about what level of destruction/loss of homes was really anticipated by government. At a presumed additional construction cost of £350m for the Ruislip section, an additional length of tunnel extending beyond Ickenham communities should be expected to cost a similar amount per kilometre or less (with economies of scale).

It is critical that concerned residents continue to write to their MPs about these issues. these are some questions you might want to ask them to ask the Secretary of State:

Please provide specific and substantiated evidence as to the effects of tunnelling.

By way of example, what caused gardens to cave in during the construction of HS1?

Please provide details as to the nature and extent of the assessments to be made of the buildings and foundations in our area

Please provide details as to which buildings will qualify for assessment ie directly over tunnels and within what radius of the tunnels?

Can the tunnel be pushed deeper to a consistent depth of between 40 – 50m?  If no, please provide specific evidence as to why not.

2 Responses to HS2 & Tunnels

  1. MD says:

    Thanks for the informative article. I was wondering what the impact would be on a property which is one block away from the proposed heathrow spur development and 1km away from the HS2. It is really difficult to tell from published information the impact in terms of vibration, noise and disruption. If you have any information or can point me in the right direction I would appreciate it. Thanks

    • Sadly no one can give any definite answers on these issues. HS2 should be your contact and we would recommend contacting them and possibly using Freedom of Information request to ask for the information you want.
      However, as the Heathrow Spur is on hold they are unlikely to give any detail on it at the moment and the details you rightly want are not available even on the confirmed route.
      The environmental statement consultation later this year will be the best place to meet HS2 staff and ask for more details so keep a look out for those events being advertised. Meanwhile come along to our event on the 14th at Ruislip Rugby Club.

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