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High Speed 2: Consultant 'development partner' to be announced imminently

Scheme promoter High Speed 2 (HS2) is expected to announce the consultant that will act as its development partner imminently, following yesterday’s green light for the £32.7bn scheme.

Project managers Turner & Townsend, Mace, CH2M Hill and consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff were shortlisted for the job in November.

The development partner will earn between £50M and £70M over six years and will help manage the detailed design work and work to produce the Environmental Impact Assessment for the first phase of the scheme. It will also support HS2 in the development of a hybrid bill and managing Parliamentary procedures should government proceed with the scheme following further public consultation.

Then transport secretary Philip Hammond instructed HS2 to begin procuring a consultant to carry out the role last summer, but instructed the project promoter not to make an award until the scheme received formal go-ahead. Yesterday’s announcement stated that an appointment will now be made by the end of the month.

Rapid work will also be needed to firm up the route of phase two, in order for a detailed route to be settled on by the end of 2014. To meet this timetable the Department for Transport said it wants to receive advice from HS2 on the route options for phase 2 by March 2012. This will be the first time that a proper alignment of the route for the remaining Y route between the West Midlands and Manchester and Leeds, including intermediate stations. It will then carry out a period of engagement and consultation to inform the choice of a preferred route.

Development partner duties

The job is seen as a key role if the environmental statement is to be produced and consulted on in spring 2013.

This will allow government to introduce a hybrid bill to Parliament by the end of 2013 and seek Royal Assent by 2015. If granted, this would to provide the necessary powers to construct and operate the first phase of the railway from London to West Midlands.

“This is a significant body of work, the first stage of which will be to procure a development partner to coordinate this work,” says the government’s High Speed Rail report. “We intend to do this during January 2012.”

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