WATCH: How HS2 built the ‘world’s longest bridge slide’


HS2 Ltd oversaw the installation of a huge bridge across a major motorway over the Christmas break using an innovative new method. 

HS2 moves a 12,600-tonne bridge into position across the M42 in Warwickshire.
Credit: HS2 Ltd
by Rory ButlerJanuary 3, 2023

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In a world-first, HS2 moved a 12,600-tonne bridge into position across the M42 in Warwickshire using the ‘longest ever’ box slide. 

Around 450 people from Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV), HS2’s construction contractor in the Midlands, delivered the engineering feat during Christmas week.  

Teams moved the monster Marston Box bridge a record 165 metres in 40 hours, at a speed of four metres per hour.  

The M42 reopened today following a 10-day closure between Junctions 9 and 10. 

The Marston Box bridge 

The 86-metre-long structure was built over six months on land next to the motorway and was developed by Mott MacDonald and Systra. 

The sliding mechanism, designed by Freyssinet, allowed the box to be positioned over the motorway via a guiding raft. 

Once complete, the entire structure will be 190 metres in length, and will carry HS2 to Crewe, Birmingham Curzon Street, Solihull, Old Oak Common Station and London Euston. 

On the job 

  • National Highways   

“This is the first box slide of its kind over a motorway in the UK, and we believe it’s also the world’s longest slide, so it’s a great achievement for HS2 as we quickly approach peak construction,” said HS2 Civils Delivery Director, Mike Lyons.  

“It’s fantastic to celebrate another big milestone for a project that is already providing work for almost 30,000 people today, and in the future, it will encourage people to use zero carbon public transport.” 

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