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Exclusive | HS2 civil works £1bn above target cost

High Speed Rail 2by3

Initial costs for High Speed 2 (HS2) main civil works are coming in around £1bn over budget, New Civil Engineer can reveal. 

Multiple sources close to the project have confirmed that interim costs submitted by contractors are currently above HS2’s target cost of £6.6bn. 

While one source said that the collective price was coming in at “around £1.2bn” over budget, another said that some bids were “as much as 30% to 40% higher” than their individual target price.

As a result, NCE understands that the notice to proceed has been pushed back from November until February 2019 with one source claiming that they had been told to “go away and sharpen their pencils” to cut costs. 

It is understood that the joint ventures for all four of the main civil works are currently coming in above budget. 

However, a HS2 spokesperson said that the project “remains on track, and within [the] original cost package”. 

Last month, NCE’s sister publication Ground Engineering reported how the cost of delivering HS2 could rise sharply as a result of the use of target cost contracts without geotechnical baseline reports (GBRs).

The JVs were appointed by HS2 in July last year to develop the main civil works designs for phase 1 of the line. On receiving the bids at an acceptable price, the teams will be given a notice to proceed allowing them to start building the line.

The work being carried out has been split into seven packages, two in the south, three in the central section of the line and two in the north. The packages vary in size and value depending on their complexity.

The contracts are one of the biggest packages of work handed out by the high speed line.

Main civil works packages and contractors

S1: Euston Tunnels and Approaches – SCS JV (Skanska/Costain/Strabag) – £740M

S2: Northolt Tunnels - SCS JV (Skanska/Costain/Strabag) – £1.1bn

C1: Chiltern Tunnels and Colne Valley Viaduct - Align JV (Bouygues/Volker Fitzpatrick/Sir Robert McAlpine) £965M

C2: North Portal Chiltern Tunnels to Brackley - CEK JV (Eiffage/Kier) £724M

C3: Brackley to South Portal of Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel - CEK JV (Eiffage/Kier) £616M

N1: Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel to Delta Junction and Birmingham Spur – BBV JV (Balfour Beatty/Vinci) £1.3bn

N2: Delta Junction to WCML Tie-In – BBV JV (Balfour Beatty/Vinci) £1.15bn


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Readers' comments (2)

  • Here we go again with cost over runs on a major infrastructure project - and this is before construction even gets going.
    It will also be interesting to see what the actual passenger figures turn out to be compared to the predicted usage once up and running.
    Whilst avidly hoping that these will not be a repeat of the HS 1 situation, sadly the portents do not appear good. All a little worrying for the Civil Engineering Industry and future infrastructure investment.

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  • Was anyone actually surprised by this news ???

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