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Wed June 23 2021

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HS2 contractors get green light... to wait another eight weeks

12 Feb 20 The big construction companies and their supply chains waiting to start digging and shovelling the new HS2 railway must sit on their hands for a few more weeks yet.

£9 billion has already been spent on planning and preparations, including siteworks at Old Oak Common
£9 billion has already been spent on planning and preparations, including siteworks at Old Oak Common

While enabling works continue as before – clearing major station sites, completing the archaeology and setting up the big construction compounds – the main civil engineering contracts have yet to be signed off by the Treasury, despite having been signed way back in July 2017.

The main civil engineering contracts for phase 1a (London-Birmingham) are two part design & build.

“We’re still in final value negotiations/value engineering etc and the approval to move to the second stage is what we are waiting for,” an HS2 Ltd spokesman said.

“Government confirmed that would be in April,” he added.

The awarding of Notice to Proceed (NtP) to the main works contractors will allow them to start the recruitment of construction workers and begin the first permanent works on site.

When work does start for real, construction will begin with the biggest engineering challenges – such as the stations and tunnels – then the main viaducts and bridges, and finally the route surface works in the middle. As such, most activity during 2020 will be focused on the city centre station sites and the major construction compounds at Old Oak Common, M25, Calvert and Streethay.

The first tunnel boring machines will be completed and delivered ahead of their launch in 2021.

Despite years of frustration and having to endure yesterday’s abuse from the prime minister, the HS2 Ltd team is relieved that it has not been wasting its time and our money this past decade.

“Today’s announcement from the government provides much needed clarity on the future of the project for our contractors and the wider community,” its spokesman said yesterday after the prime minister gave the project the go-ahead. “HS2 has been 10 years in the planning and development, and we are shovel ready to start building the first new railway north of London for over a century. Building HS2 will relieve pressure on our overcrowded rail network. It will transform the UK economy by helping to bridge the gap between London and the South East and the Midlands and the North. And, by getting more people and freight onto trains, taking cars and lorries off our roads, and reducing domestic air travel, HS2 will be crucial to the UK reaching the net zero carbon target by 2050.”

The enabling works contractors who are already busy preparing the way for HS2 are LM JV (Laing O’Rourke, Murphy), Fusion (Morgan Sindall, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman) and CSjv (Costain, Skanska).

The phase 1a main works contractors who have been waiting on the starting line since July 2017 are:

Area South

S1: Euston Tunnels and Approaches – SCS JV (Skanska Construction UK, Costain, Strabag) – £740m

S2: Northolt Tunnels – SCS JV – £1.1bn

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Area Central

C1: Chiltern Twin Tunnels (15.8km long) and Colne Valley Viaduct (3.4km) – Align JV (Bouygues Travaux Publics, VolkerFitzpatrick, Sir Robert McAlpine) – £965m.

C2: North Portal Chiltern Tunnels to Brackley – EK JV (Eiffage, Kier) – £724m

C3: Brackley to South Portal of Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel – EK JV – £616m

Area North

N1: Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel to Delta Junction and Birmingham Spur – BBV JV (Balfour Beatty, Vinci Construction Grands Projets, Vinci Construction UK, Vinci Construction Terrassement) – £1.32bn

N2: Delta Junction to West Coast Main Line Tie-In – BBV JV – £1.15bn.


Old Oak Common –Balfour Beatty/Vinci/Systra

Euston – Mace/Dragados

Birmingham stations – contracts to be awarded in 2021

[n.b. Contract values as of July 2017.]

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