The first major contracts for the new High Speed 2 (HS2) rail line have been signed, signalling a momentous milestone for the project.
Representatives from each of the joint ventures (JV) working on the main civils packages joined HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston in Birmingham to sign the contracts.
Last month, New Civil Engineer exclusively revealed the engineers working with the contractors on each of the stages.
“HS2 is more than just a railway,” said Thurston at the signing. “The contracts we sign today will provide much needed extra capacity and connectivity between our major cities, but it will also unlock huge opportunities for new jobs, homes and economic development and start to rebalance our economy.”
Seven different stages form the phase 1 route, S1 and S2, C1, C2 and C3, and N1 and N2. More information on each the stages can be found in our indepth technical lowdown for the contracts.
Southern stages 1 and 2 – £1.84bn
SCS – a JV comprising Skanska, Costain and Strabag – will build the first two sections of the route. S1 comprises designing and building a complex 7.4km of twin-bore tunnel to take the line north-west out of Euston Station in central London to the second station on the route at Old Oak Common. From there in stage S2, the team will design and build the 13.5km long, 8.8m diameter Northolt Tunnel running up to 32m below ground to just south of a golf course in West Ruislip.
SCS JV board member Peter Jones said the JV was “delighted” to have been awarded the contracts which follow on from the south enabling works contract awarded last year.
“The awards are further testimony to the SCS collaborative approach and our strong track record in applying technology-based innovative solutions in the delivery of large-scale projects,” said Jones.
Central stage 1 – £965M
C1 is being designed and built by Align JV – made up of Bouygues, VolkerFitzpatrick and Sir Robert McAlpine. Here the team will have to contend with a 190m long, up to 10m deep cutting, the 3.4km long Colne Valley Viaduct and the 15.8km long Chilterns Tunnel.
Align project director Jérôme Furgé said he felt it was a “special privilege” to be working on the project.
“This project will require a unique level of collaboration between all of us and the highest industry standards, expected by HS2, will be implemented in order to obtain the very best outcome,” said Furgé. “My Align colleagues and I are delighted to be part of the challenge to deliver a world-class asset to the UK.”
Central stages 2 and 3 – £1.34bn
The next stage of the works is the 80km long, largely rural stages between the Chilterns Tunnel and Long Itchington will be built by CEK JV – a team made up of Carillion, Eiffage and Kier. Here long embankments, green tunnels and interfaces with existing motorways, rail lines and canals around Birmingham will present sizable challenges for the engineers.
CEK JV board executive director and chairman Sean Jeffery said: “We are delighted to have been selected to help deliver this major infrastructure project and look forward to working in partnership with HS2. Our involvement in this project will enable us to create many new jobs and training opportunities as well as working with a diverse range of supply chain businesses from across the UK.”
Northern stages 1 and 2 – £2.45bn
Completion of the line up to Birmingham Interchange station in the northern sections is to be carried out by a Balfour Beatty Vinci JV.
As one of the most complex sections, it includes 15 cuttings, 20 embankments, 1.48km of twin bored tunnel, 0.43km of single cell cut and cover tunnel, 0.63km of cut and cover tunnel, 32 highway diversions and five watercourse diversions.
It also involves building eight viaducts – including the major Balsall Common Viaduct and River Blythe Viaduct – 16 under bridges and 31 over bridges.
Balfour Beatty VINCI HS2 managing director Mark Cutler said he was proud to be a part of such a complex project.
“This iconic rail infrastructure project will create significant opportunities for the UK construction industry and enable long term benefits in skills, jobs and regional prosperity. We look forward to building on our successful track record of major infrastructure projects, and playing our part in the delivery of HS2”.
Contractors will spend the first 16 months working with HS2 to produce a detailed design before construction begins in 2018 to 2019.
Preparatory work has already begun on the project with geological investigation underway across the route and ecological and archaeological work due to begin soon.