30 November 2010
The new Tesco store at Gerrards Cross has opened for its first day of trading this week, marking the final milestone of this challenging project. This is the first store to be built over a railway in this unique land-reclamation scheme where Tesco lease the air rights to the land from Network Rail.
"Customer feedback has been absolutely fantastic regarding the quality of the building," says Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager, Michael Kissman. What customers shopping here haven't seen is the years of hard work and dedication by the Costain team. This store will delight our customers."
The project hit the national headlines in June 2005 when a section of the tunnel under construction over the operational Chiltern Line collapsed. Taking over from the previous contractor, Costain has led the reconstruction of the tunnel and new store above. Works have been conducted over a fully operational railway with no disruption to the network.
For two and a half years Costain worked with Scott Wilson to review the scheme, developing a design solution and methodology acceptable to Network Rail. The 22 month construction programme that followed this has been completed ahead of programme with over a million man-hours worked and no reportable accidents.
The new tunnel is 319m long and reinstates the original ground profile of a deep Victorian cutting, providing a new four acre development site in the heart of Gerrards Cross. The project was an engineering challenge even prior to the collapse, but the problems faced by the Costain team to review and reconstruct the structure were even greater.
The unique store building has been customised to provide a high level of finish featuring enhanced oak features to the structure and a large glass atrium. The front piazza area encompasses cascading water fountains that showcase the quality of specification and workmanship. A gas power station on site simultaneously generates both electricity and useful heat, with surplus electricity returned to the National Grid.
Martin Baughurst, Costain's Project Director, comments: "This has been a hugely challenging project that demonstrates Costain's ability to deliver a very technical project under high levels of examination. The team has worked hard to engage with the local community to minimise the impact of our works."