HS2 says conveyor machine ‘will remove the equivalent of around 30,000 HGV journeys from Warwickshire roads’

The 250-metre long machine, built over the Grand Union Canal at Long Itchington, will transport more than 750,000 tonnes of excavated material - which will be used at other sites along the route of the high-speed rail line

A new conveyor has started operating on HS2’s Long Itchington Wood Tunnel to take over 750,000 tonnes of excavated material over the Grand Union Canal.

HS2’s civils contractor for the Midlands, Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV) has built the 254-metre long machine to move the material, which is currently being excavated both from the tunnel and a railway cutting in the same location.

HSS has said that it is expected that the new shortcut will remove the equivalent of around 30,000 HGV journeys from roads around the area, “reducing impacts on the local community and cutting carbon”.

But nearby villagers have continued to express their concerns over the destruction HS2 has caused to the countryside.

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The conveyor will operate until early 2023, before it is dismantled and rebuilt at Water Orton as part of a 1,200m long conveyor which will remove hundreds more lorries from the roads every day.

The excavated material will be reused in other locations along the route of the high-speed rail line.

The 250-metre conveyor machine over the Grsnd Union Canal at Long Itchington. Picture courtesy of HS2.

Alan Payne, senior project manager at HS2 Ltd, said: “We’re working closely with our supply chain to reduce carbon right across the project and find construction solutions to minimise disruption around our work sites.

"It’s initiatives like this that will help us achieve our ambitious target of being net zero carbon as a project from 2035, helping to put HS2 at the centre of Britain’s sustainable transport network.”

In December 2021, HS2 CEO Mark Thurston launched the tunnel boring machine (TBM) ‘Dorothy’ - named after the first British woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry - on her one mile journey underneath the Warwickshire countryside.

The twin bore tunnel will preserve the Long Itchington Wood above the site, which is classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Dorothy is expected to complete her first bore later in the summer, and this will be the first tunnel breakthrough of the HS2 project.

HS2 CEO Mark Thurston starts the tunnel boring machine 'Dorothy' at Long Itchington Wood. Picture courtesy of HS2.