The viaduct is one of only two places in the Chilterns where the HS2 route will be above ground level, with the underside of the viaduct just 6m above the road, supported by five ‘Y’ shaped piers.
Its girders will be made from weathering steel which naturally ages to a dark russet finish to blend in with the natural tones of the surrounding landscape.
The side of the girders will feature prominent deck stiffeners which help to manage the structural forces while allowing for a lighter weight beam.
The pale concrete parapet and noise barrier along the top of the viaduct is designed to throw the dark steel into shadow, helping to give the appearance of a lighter and thinner structure.
The piers are designed to be as slender as possible, appearing to reach up and grip the beam above.
Structurally, the viaduct girders will use an innovative ‘double composite’ approach, like the nearby Wendover Dean Viaduct.
This involves two steel girders sandwiched between two layers of reinforced concrete to create a super strong but light weight span – which will dramatically cut the amount of embedded carbon in the structure.
Both viaducts were designed by HS2 Ltd’s main works contractor, EKFB – a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall – working with their design partner, ASC (a joint venture between Arcadis Setec and COWI) and specialist architects Moxon.
HS2 Ltd’s Design Director, Kay Hughes said: “The innovative approach to Wendover’s Small Dean Viaduct is a great example of how HS2 can deliver elegant viaducts at a fraction of the normal carbon footprint and save construction time. I’d like to congratulate the design team and look forward to seeing this outstanding viaduct start to take shape over the coming years.”
EKFB’s Interface and Stakeholder Director, Simon Matthews, said: “Small Dean Viaduct is the most high profile of the 15 viaducts that we are delivering across our 80 km central section of HS2, and we have been developing our design to respond to the unique challenges of building a sustainable structure that responds to the local environment.
“Works are already underway to prepare for the new viaduct, and over the next two years the foundations and piers will be built alongside the busy A413, before the 5,800 tonne deck will be launched in 2025.”
As well as the main road, the viaduct will also span the neighbouring Chiltern line to London Marylebone and the project will also include the realignment of Small Dean Lane.
The A413 will be realigned to pass under the viaduct, with landscaping in the form of a series of subtle terraces to manage the change in height and interplay between road, paths, railway and viaduct.
A shared foot and cycle path will also be delivered by HS2 alongside the main road as it passes under the viaduct between the A413 London Road roundabout and the houses near Rocky Lane. This will eventually form part of the Misbourne Greenway project designed to link Wendover with Great Missenden.