Also today: National Grid launches £2.5bn electricity framework; Mandelson warning over HS2.
4.20pm: Network Rail has published a study on ways of improving its network.
The Alternative Solutions route utilisation strategy identified five areas for development – trams; tram trains; hybrid light rail; electrification; and community initiatives.
Network Rail group strategy director Paul Plummer said: “To maintain the mandate to further invest in our railway, the industry has to demonstrate a clear commitment to greater efficiency and cost effectiveness.
“This means being open to alternative solutions and we hope that this new study will prompt fresh thinking and debate about the best way to deliver an improved rail network that meets the needs of all stakeholders.”
1.50pm: Transport Scotland has opened up bidding on three highways contracts for the A9 dualling programme from Perth to Inverness.
The contracts, which are worth between £40M and £60M each, will cover design works from Birnam to Glen Garry; Glen Garry to Dalraddy; and Dalraddy to Inverness.
“Dualling of the A9 has been talked about for a generation, but now this massive infrastructure project is on the road to delivery,” said transport minister Keith Brown.
“Opening of the design contract tendering process marks a significant milestone in a project that will deliver faster and more reliable journey times and road safety improvements when it is completed.”
11.10am: Utilities provider United Utilities has begun a £1.9M project to triple the capacity of the sewer network north east of Carlisle, Cumbria.
The project includes the construction of a 1.2km pipeline from Irthington to Brampton and will allow the system to handle almost three times the wastewater it can currently. It will also provide scope for future development.
“Most of our work is on our own sites and in fields, so there should not be too much inconvenience to local people and there will be no effect whatsoever on the service they receive,” said United Utilities project manager Géraud Ramond.
“A lot of preparations have taken place, including plans for protecting the environment and wildlife while we are working here.”
11am: With the London Olympics construction programme fresh in the memory, the building of venues for Rio 2016 began this week.
Ground was broken for the first three sports halls at the Rio 2016 Games Barra Olympic Park on Monday 1 July.
The venues will host basketball; taekwondo; Olympic and Paralympic judo; wrestling; wheelchair basketball; boccia; sitting volleyball; and wheelchair rugby.
The first stage of work includes ground drilling and the application of concrete on foundation structures. The structures will start to be built before the end of the year.
10.35am: National Grid is seeking contractors for a £2.5bn framework to build and refurbish high voltage electricity lines.
The client is looking to appoint up to 14 contractors to the four-year agreement, which could be extended for up to four more years.
More information on the framework, which will form an alternative to National Grid’s existing alliances, is available here.
Interested parties have until 15 July to register their interest in the work.
10.25am: Transport for London (TfL) is to start running commuter train services from Liverpool Street station.
The announcement follows the government’s decision to devolve a number of services running from the East London station.
TfL will take control of routes from Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt (via Seven Sisters) and Chingford, encompasing 25 stations in total. TfL will take responsibility for 23 while Liverpool Street and Cheshunt will remain under the control of Network Rail and Greater Anglia respectively.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “You only have to look at the success of London Overground to see how TfL taking over this commuter service will transform the journey for passengers. It will also open up the north-east of London and drive jobs and growth in Tottenham and beyond.”
9.55am: Former business secretary Lord Mandelson has warned against blind support for High Speed 2 following the project’s 25% rise in estimated cost.
Writing in the Financial Times, Mandelson claimed that during his time in power the Labour government did not investigate alternatives to the project fully.
“Those who previously supported the project should not offer it an open cheque and should, instead, insist on keeping their options open,” said Mandelson.
His comments come after MPs were warned earlier this week that the cost of creating HS2 could spiral even beyond the revised figures announced last week.
9.50am: Also on Carillion – the firm has confirmed that its revenue from the first half of 2013 will be lower than in the same period last year.
The contractor told the City this morning that this was in line with expectations, and largely as a result of rescaling its UK construction business.
It said it expected a stronger second half of the year, and was targeting growth in full-year revenue.
Carillion added that net borrowing would be about £270M in the first half of this year, but was expected to drop by the year end.
9.45am: Carillion has secured two Network Rail Crossrail contracts worth a total of £122M.
The Wolverhampton-based contractor was awarded the Crossrail west inner track improvements package.
It will also carry out the Crossrail Old Oak Common and Paddington approaches and Intercity Express programme.
Due for completion by summer 2017, the projects will enable the flagship trans-London line to be integrated into Network rail’s existing infrastructure in the west of the capital.