The route of HS2 has been changed near Lichfield in Staffordshire, following a decision by the Transport Secretary.
Patrick McLoughlin is proposing an amended route, which will now pass under the A38, the West Coast Main Line and the South Staffordshire line rather than run over them on viaducts.
The alignment will also be amended to remove two crossings over the Trent and Mersey Canal.
This follows discussions involving HS2 Ltd and Staffordshire County Council.
Staffordshire said that the “changes reflect what many local residents and stakeholders, including the Canals & Rivers Trust, requested during the petitioning process”.
The changes reduce the size of embankments in the area and mean large sections of the railway will run in cutting, limiting its visual impact on the landscape.
McLoughlin said: “This decision underlines the ongoing work HS2 Ltd is doing with communities along the route to ensure the construction of this vital new railway takes their views into account. I am confident that by working together we can ensure HS2 is designed in the right way, and we will have spades in the ground in 2017 as planned.”
HS2’s chief executive Simon Kirby said: “I am delighted that through partnership working with Staffordshire County Council we have been able to find an engineering solution that reduces HS2’s impact on the area.
“Subsequent partnership working with Staffordshire County Council to further investigate the ground conditions produced results that presented the opportunity for improved route design.”
Mark Winnington, Staffordshire cabinet member for economy, environment & transport, said: “Although we are opposed to HS2, from the outset we have put all our efforts into getting the best deal we can for Staffordshire and its people.
“We are pleased the Staffordshire voice has been heard and these new proposals will help protect the Lichfield skyline, limit extensive, intrusive construction and significantly reduce noise.
“While this is great news today, we recognise too the importance of exploring further mitigating options with HS2 and supporting communities affected by the national transport scheme.”