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Sat July 31 2021

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HS2 starts search for Phase 2b ground investigation contractors

9 Jul HS2 Ltd has begun the search for a team of specialist ground investigation contractors to undertake ground investigations for Phase 2b of the high speed railway line.

A single framework contract, worth around £300m, will include the appointment of a lead ‘ground investigation partner’ supported by up to 10 specialist ground investigation contractors.

This approach will allow HS2 Ltd to call on as much technical expertise as required, depending on design needs and the outcome of the government’s Integrated Rail Plan, which is expected to be published later this year.

The government has instructed HS2 Ltd to proceed with drafting legislation for the western leg of Phase 2b, from Crewe to Manchester, as a priority.

In total, the ground investigation programme allows for more than 15,000 exploratory holes and will enable a model of the ground beneath the whole route to be developed. This geotechnical data will help inform the design and construction of the railway.

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HS2 procurement director Andrew Cubitt said: “This framework agreement is an important step in our plans to bring HS2 to the north. It will enable us to procure a comprehensive body of ground investigation data to inform our future civil engineering works.

“The structure of the framework agreement means that more than ten contractors could benefit from the opportunities we are creating, which comes at a vital time for UK businesses seeking stability and growth as we strive to recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

The procurement is for an initial eight-year framework, with the option to extend for a further two years. It is split into two lots:

  • The ground investigation partner – worth up to £85m – will be responsible for managing and co-ordinating the packaging of works as well as the planning and the implementation of site enabling works.
  • The ground investigation contractors – worth up to £215m – will be responsible for the acquisition and formal reporting of geotechnical, hydrogeological and geo-environmental data through surveys, the excavation and detailed logging of exploratory holes, and high-quality in-situ and laboratory testing.

HS2 Ltd stressed that the launch of the contract opportunity did not commit it to any actual spending at this stage. Bidders will be shortlisted towards the end of the year with the contract award expected in 2022.

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