HS2 given notice to proceed despite lockdown
The UK Government has given formal approval for work on High Speed 2 (HS2) to proceed as long as sites comply with guidance for safe working practices in relation to social distancing.
The Eiffage Kier joint venture, recently joined by two new partners Ferrovial Agroman and BAM Nuttall, received notification to proceed today which enables it to commence the full detailed design and construction of 80km of Phase 1 of the HS2 railway (the route from London – Birmingham).
Throughout construction of the project, the partners will deliver Lots C2 and C3 of the HS2 high-speed railway. This 80km section runs between the Chilterns to Warwickshire and includes 15 viaducts, 5km of green tunnels, 22km of road diversions, 67 overbridges and 30 million cubic metres of excavation. The total value of the section, including the design and development work already completed is £2,269 million.
Construction works are expected to start later in the year.
Andrew Davies, CEO at Kier, said: “We are pleased that the government has confirmed NTP for the HS2 project, allowing us to progress onto the next phase of works in delivering this vital infrastructure project. We have been successfully delivering the design and development phase since 2017 and working with our new partners BAM Nuttall and Ferrovial Agroman alongside Eiffage we will collectively bring invaluable knowledge and expertise throughout delivery to play our part in the most sustainable high-speed railway of its kind.”
Benoît de Ruffray, chairman and CEO of Eiffage, added: “Eiffage and its partners welcome the UK Government announcement for the new high speed line HS2. We are very proud to contribute to this project which has become possible thanks to the collaborative approach set by HS2 Ltd since 2017. Whatever difficulties countries are currently facing, we stay confident in the fact that we will overcome the crisis and successfully deliver this ambitious project.”
Stephen Fox, chief executive, BAM Nuttall, said: “The Notice to Proceed for HS2 is extremely positive news, particularly at this difficult time for the country. BAM Nuttall is proud to be involved in this transformational scheme and we look forward to bringing our expertise to this key infrastructure project. BAM Nuttall is delighted to be working in collaboration with Eiffage, Kier and Ferrovial and all other HS2 partners to deliver the inspirational vision set out by HS2.”
Balfour Beatty VINCI has also received notification to proceed with its two main civil engineering contracts, worth a combined total of c. £5 billion.
The 50:50 joint venture will now commence the full detailed design and construction of both schemes.
The scope of works comprises extensive earthworks, ground engineering, viaducts and tunnels along a 90 kilometre stretch between the Long Itchington Wood Green tunnel in the south to the West Coast Main Line tie-in near Litchfield in the north with a major junction into central Birmingham at Curzon Street.
Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty group chief executive, said: “HS2 is a transformational infrastructure scheme, underpinning both the economic resilience and future growth of the nation, during these unprecedented and challenging times.
“Notice to Proceed provides certainty for many businesses up and down the UK, and will drive investment in skills and capability for current and future generations.”
Preparatory works are due to start imminently with main construction to commence in earnest in the second quarter of 2021.
At construction peak, a workforce of over 8,000 will be involved in delivering the scheme, many of whom will be locally employed. In addition, Balfour Beatty VINCI will offer approximately 400 apprenticeship and graduate opportunities.
The joint venture of Balfour Beatty, VINCI and SYSTRA was awarded the construction management contract for the c. £1 billion Old Oak Common station in 2019. Today’s announcement brings the number of packages the company will deliver on behalf of HS2 to three.