Ashford's urban cut and cover tunnel including its underground flying junction linking into the station is substantially complete structurally and was only mildly affected by the very wet winter.
At the other end of the town the viaduct over the junction from the east end of the station is around two thirds complete. The viaduct will also take the through CTRL tracks over sidings of the large railway yard and the turnouts for the Canterbury Line, where spans have still to be completed. All other bridges and structures east of the town centre are virtually finished.
Adjacent to the station, work on Beaver Road Bridge and its intricate services goes on and on, much as was expected. One half has been jacked up to give clearance for electrical overhead line equipment. The eastern carriageway is following on.
Remedial works from the winter washout of the country section west of Ashford are apparent wherever the line intersects with a road. Turfs have been laid along the edge of carriageways to hold back the fine slurry running off the new earthworks. Sandbags have been used to reinforce the steep banks adjacent to wing walls on all the bridge abutments. In low lying sections of the route, such as beneath the new A20 overbridge near Beechbrook Farm, waterlogged formation is being excavated and replaced.
Beechbrook Farm - the yard from which all ballast, sleepers and rails will be fed out for the main tracklaying operation - is a scene of frantic activity.
'Enhanced resources' is the term used on the project to describe how the work is being done.
This site is part of Mowlem's Contract 434 and the wet weather pre-empted an early start on earthmoving. The switches to the existing Channel Tunnel Route 2 line were put in to schedule - they had to be to meet a possession date - and a start has been made on the reception sidings.
Now earthmoving and compaction equipment is flooding the site in a huge push to get it levelled out ready to complete the 14.5km of temporary tracks needed for the works trains. By November the yard has to be in full production, shipping out materials for 1,200m of single track every day. Once Section One is complete the yard will be ripped out and the area landscaped.
Contract 430 - Ashford Skanska (formerly Kvaerner Construction) 14.4km Target cost £150M Key Features: A huge trenched tunnel through Ashford town centre plus a viaduct. Complex interfaces with live railways include Eurostar's current line, the signalling system for much of the south east sector of the rail network, the M20 motorway and utilities. Partnering prominent at Ashford from the start.
Contractor and RLE's management team are now merged almost totally.