Despite the rainy September weather, the IABSE site visit to the Luton DART went ahead as planned and provided a fascinating opportunity to see construction progress on the project.
The Luton DART project will connect Luton Airport Parkway Network Rail Station to the Luton Airport Terminal by a new light rail link, a journey passengers currently need to make by bus. The project will reduce journey times from the station to the airport to less than 4 minutes, bringing the airport within 30 minutes of central London.
The 2.1km route is jam packed with different structures, beginning with a new iconic station the route travels over a 350m long steel-concrete composite viaduct, a 72m architectural steel truss bridge, 600m through cut and fill, 500m in a trough, 350m of cut and cover tunnel and terminates at a new underground station at the airport terminal. The landscape demanded such a variety of structures and this is what makes this project so remarkable.
The team began their visit at Parkway Station where they walked around the completed RC frame and looked along the alignment of the viaduct. Next, they visited the Central Terminal Station excavation. Finally, they visited the build site of the Gateway Bridge, a 1,000t architectural truss bridge which is being built off site and will be rolled into position later this year.
Seeing design come to life in such a varied way made it an inspirational visit. Be sure to check out the project progress next time you are passing through Luton Airport. Opening of the Luton DART is scheduled for Summer 2021.