The Department for Transport (DfT) has given the contractual go-ahead for civils work on the High Speed 2 (HS2) route between London and the West Midlands
According to the AJ’s sister publication Construction News, the notice to proceed formally allows the four main works civils contractors working on the project to begin detailed design and construction of phase one of the railway project.
These works include two new viaducts by Moxon Architects in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty south of Aylesbury - the 450m-long Wendover Dean viaduct and the 315m-long Small Dean viaduct 1.2km to the north.
A statement from the DfT said the move was a vote of confidence in construction companies while the industry faced an uncertain time.
HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson said: ‘While the government’s top priority is rightly to combat the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives, we cannot delay work on our long-term plan to level up the country.
‘Following the decision earlier this year to proceed with the project, this next step provides thousands of construction workers and businesses across the country with certainty at a time when they need it, and means that work can truly begin on delivering this transformational project.’
The four joint ventures are:
- SCS Railways (Skanska, Costain, Strabag)
- Align JV (Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick)
- EKBF JV (Eiffage Genie Civil, Kier, Bam Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman)
- BBV JV (Balfour Beatty, VinciNCI Construction Grands Projets, Vinci Construction UK, Vinci Construction Terrassement)
Contracts between HS2 and the main works civils contractors have so far focused on scheme design and site preparation. The issuing of the notice means the project can move to full detailed design and construction.
The Oakervee Review of the project suggested some of these may have to be reprocured prior to the notice to proceed being granted.
HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston said: ‘In these difficult times, today’s announcement represents both an immediate boost to the construction industry - and the many millions of UK jobs that the industry supports - and an important investment in Britain’s future: levelling up the country, improving our transport network and changing the way we travel to help bring down carbon emissions and improve air quality for the next generation.”
The majority of work on the project is currently suspended due to coronavirus social distancing concerns, although demolition at Euston station in London is set to restart next week. Decisions on whether to work can be safely carried out at each site is the responsibility of individual contractors.