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HS2 given permission to start construction

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HS2 has formally begun the construction phase of the project as it has issued Notices to Proceed to the four main works civils contractors working on the project – SCS Railways, Align JV, EKFB JV, and BBV JV – to commence full detailed design and construction of Phase One of the HS2 railway (the route from London – West Midlands).

Following publication of the Oakervee Review, which recommended that the project should go ahead alongside a reform package to improve governance at HS2 to ensure the project is delivered better and more efficiently, the Prime Minister confirmed to Parliament in February 2020 that the government would proceed with HS2, to deliver vital improvements to capacity and connectivity across the Midlands and North.

Andrew Stephenson MP.

Announcing that HS2 had been given authority to issue the Notices to Proceed, HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “While the government’s top priority is rightly to combat the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives, we cannot delay work on our long-term plan to level up the country.

“HS2 will be the spine of the country’s transport network, boosting capacity and connectivity while also rebalancing opportunity fairly across our towns and cities.

“Following the decision earlier this year to proceed with the project, this next step provides thousands of construction workers and businesses across the country with certainty at a time when they need it, and means that work can truly begin on delivering this transformational project.”

The four work packages are for full detailed design and construction of Phase One of the HS2 railway. Through these contracts, small and medium businesses have the guarantee of a pipeline of activity for the future, helping to protect jobs and boost certainty for them in the current climate.

The joint ventures that are responsible for each package of work will be able to commence work immediately, progressing detailed design, site preparation works and placing important sub-contracts.

Mark Thurston, HS2.

HS2 chief executive officer Mark Thurston commented: “In these difficult times, today’s announcement represents both an immediate boost to the construction industry – and the many millions of UK jobs that the industry supports – and an important investment in Britain’s future: levelling up the country, improving our transport network and changing the way we travel to help bring down carbon emissions and improve air quality for the next generation.”

“HS2 has been over ten years in development and design. While the country’s focus is rightly on defeating COVID-19, the issuing of Notice to Proceed today ensures that our contractors and their supply chains have the confidence that they can commit to building HS2, generating thousands of skilled jobs across the country as we recover from the pandemic.”  

The joint ventures and construction companies involved, and their areas of route are as follows:

  • SCS Railways (Skanska Construction UK Ltd, Costain Ltd, STRABAG AG) – £3.3 billion
              Euston Tunnels and Approaches
              Northolt Tunnels
  • Align JV (Bouygues Travaux Publics SAS, a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick, a subsidiary of VolkerWessels UK) – £1.6billio n
              Chiltern Tunnels and Colne Valley Viaduct
  • EKFB JV (Eiffage Genie Civil SA, Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman) – £2.3 billion
              North Portal Chiltern Tunnels to Brackley
              Brackley to South Portal of Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel
  • BBV JV (Balfour Beatty Group Ltd, VINCI Construction Grands Projets, VINCI Construction UK Ltd, VINCI Construction Terrassement) – £4.8 billion
              Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel to Delta Junction and Birmingham Spur
              Delta Junction to West Coast Main Line Tie-In (Handsacre Junction)

 Total contracts value (point estimates excluding risk) – £12 billion. This does not include the cost of stations, rolling stock, railway systems and other non-civils contracts, which are not included as part of these awards.

HS2 Ltd estimates that 400,000 supply chain contract opportunities for UK businesses will be created during Phase One of HS2, supporting thousands of jobs on site and many more around the country. It is estimated that around 95 per cent of those contract opportunities will be won by UK-based businesses and around two thirds of those will be small and medium-sized businesses.

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