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Mott Macdonald and Arup share HS2 spoils

Top consultants win two major design contracts for phase two of high speed line.


High Speed 2: Design work is split between a handful of consulting engineers

Consultants Arup and Mott MacDonald have this week continued their domination of the High Speed 2 (HS2) design contracts after picking up more work on phase two of the £32bn rail project.

Arup, Mott MacDonald and Aecom were last week confirmed as winners of the first tranche of work on phase two, which takes the route north from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.

Mott MacDonald will earn £3.2M designing the eastern leg of the route to Leeds. Aecom has the £3.1M contract to design the western leg to Manchester. Arup has the £1.1M contract for environmental services on both legs.

Around £110M of contracts have now been let by project promoter HS2 Ltd since October 2010.

HS2 Ltd confirmed that Arup has now won £34.5M of work on the project. The firm’s largest win was the £11.4M contract for 22km of the route through the West Midland Metropolitan Area. Mott MacDonald has won £17.5M of contracts, the largest a £13.2M civil and structural design contract for the 25km London Metropolitan Area, which includes the Old Oak Common interchange.

It has also won two contracts worth £7M each to carry out environmental impact assessment work in joint venture with ERM and Temple Group.

Atkins has yet to win work on phase two, but is working on phase one contracts worth £19.1M.

It has the £13.3M civil and structural design contract for 91km of the route through Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire including the Colne Valley viaduct and tunnels through the Chiltern Hills.

More than 1,500 people are now working on HS2, according to HS2 Ltd chief executive Alison Munro.


Still time to change

Former Arup director Mark Bostock insisted it was not too late to change the High Speed Two (HS2) route despite 1,550 engineers now working on the preferred route.

“Twenty years ago the government altered the alignment of High Speed 1 despite £300M being spent on it already,” said Bostock. He is a consultant to the Heathrow Hub lobby group which has mounted a legal challenge to the process for choosing the route of the southern section of HS2.

“It was changed because it had a far less environmental impact, fewer houses were destroyed and it opened areas such as Stratford for regeneration,” said Bostock.

He believes the HS2 route should be changed to include a stop at Heathrow and that it should follow the M40 to Birmingham.

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