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A British viaduct balances functionality and appearance, showing that precast concrete can be as visually pleasing as it is dependable.

“This is a very good example that something functional and engineering led can look great with the right design input,” High Speed 2 Head of Civil Structures Tomas Garcia told “I hope this will change the view of many stakeholders.”

Crossing the flood plain of the River Thame, just outside Aylesbury, England, the underside of the viaduct will be just 3 meters above the ground with 36 25-meter-long spans crossing the river and surrounding wetlands.

The 35 concrete piers supporting the viaduct will be entirely made off site before being placed on their foundations. Traditionally, viaduct beams are secured together above each of the piers with a concrete diaphragm that is cast in situ. However the larger precast beams that will be used at Thame Valley can secured directly to one another, removing the need for the diaphragm.

As reported in the New Civil Engineer article, this improves durability and reliability, saves time, cuts cost and improves safety by reducing the need for people to work at height.