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NCE Live News Updates Wednesday 2 October: Cameron hails HS2 in conference speech

Prime minister says £50bn scheme will bring “North and South together”.

2pm: David Cameron has told the Conservative Party conference that the £50bn High Speed 2 project is about “bringing North and South together”.

“This country has been too London-centric for far too long,” said the Prime Minister. “That’s why we need a new North-South railway line.

“The West Coast mainline is almost full. We have to build a new railway, and the choice is between another old-style Victorian one or a high speed one.

“HS2 is about bringing North and South together in our national endeavour. Because think of what more we could do with the pistons firing in all parts of our country.”


12pm: Roman skulls have been uncovered by Crossrail tunnel workers.

About 20 human skulls were found in the sediment of the historic River Walbrook by staff building a utility tunnel at Liverpool Street station.

Construction workers have carefully removed them along with some Roman pottery.

Lead archaeologist Jay Carver said: “This is an unexpected and fascinating discovery that reveals another piece in the jigsaw of London’s history.”


11am: All areas of construction grew in September, according to a respected report.

The Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index registered 58.9 last month, where anything above 50 represents growth from the previous month.

This was the fifth consecutive month of overall industry growth, and included increases in work in the housing; other buildings; and infrastructure sectors.

Construction employment rose at its sharpest rate since December 2007.


10.30am: More than £10bn is to be spent decommissioning UK oil and gas infrastructure over the next decade, according to a report.

Oil & Gas UK has published a series of documents on the scale of activity to come on the UK Continental Shelf.

The trade body said £10.4bn was to be spent decommissioning assets in the UKCS between 2013 and 2022; rising to £31.5bn to 2040. 

Oil & Gas UK operations director Oonagh Werngren said: “The Oil & Gas UK Decommissioning Insight offers… the opportunity for both operators and contractors to collaborate to maximise efficiency and reduce cost.”


10am: Vinci has secured a £265M package of work on the Rennes metro.

The firm is leading the consortium awarded the contract for the underground works on Line B of the transport system in the French town.

Worth almost €320M, it includes construction of 8km of tunnel, nine stations and four emergency shafts.

Tunnel boring will start at the end of 2014, with completion scheduled for February 2018.


9am: The new procurement method used for the Bank Station upgrade slashed the project’s cost by more than £60M, according to Transport for London.

The Innovative Contractor Engagement model set bid teams the task of improving on London Underground’s base case design.

TfL said the system had cut the estimated final cost of the project by £61m and cut planned engineering closures by more than 22%.

NCE revealed last month that airport-style travelators were the key innovation that won Spanish contractor Dragados the huge Bank Station upgrade contract.

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