Key details about construction of HS2 Phase 2a between Birmingham and Crewe have been revealed following the release of HS2 Ltd information papers.
According to the papers, the main construction works for the proposed scheme will take around six years following site clearance work and will end with completion of railway installations which will then be followed by a period of testing and commissioning before the first services begin in 2027.
Installation of all equipment necessary to operate the railway is set to begin once the main engineering works have been completed. The railway will then be handed over to the team responsible for operational testing and commissioning.
The papers also outline how a construction commissioner will be appointed to deal with complaints concerning any aspect of Phase 2a that are not handled by the nominated undertaker to the satisfaction of the complainant.
Responsibilities of the construction commissioner will include the provision of an annual report and mediating disputes between the project and individuals or bodies. The construction commissioner will, however, not consider matters under investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, complaints relating to property compensation issues, claims for losses over £10,000, or the operation of the HS2 railway or services.
It is expected that there will be 70 possessions on works between Crewe and Whitmore between 2021 and 2026.
Other works that are expected to require possessions, according to the papers, include Great Haywood Viaduct construction, installation of an island platform and junction remodelling on Crewe independent lines and Crewe to Cheadle Hulme bridge works.
The papers also outline how both a six-day and a nine-day blockades are also envisaged to be required on the West Coast Main Line to the south of Crewe, for more complex junction installation works, including testing and commissioning of signalling and power systems.
News of the papers being released has come after HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston late last month admitted that there are “cost pressures” on building the line, in an exclusive interview with New Civil Engineer.
In June this year New Civil Engineer reported that the main civils packages were collectively coming in at around £1bn over the target cost to build the line. As a result, the notice to proceed, the point at which the costs are agreed, and construction of the line can start, was pushed back three months from February to June next year.
Despite the setback, Thurston said that new measures have now been put in place and he remains “confident” that the target cost would be agreed in June next year.
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