HS2: Winners for £6.6bn civils contracts revealed

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Four consortiums have been picked by HS2 to deliver the seven civils works packages which make up phase one of the £55.7bn line from London to Birmingham.

Costain / Skanska / Strabag, Balfour Beatty / Vinci and Carillion / Kier / Eiffage were the big winners, scooping two packages each, while Bouygues / Sir Robert McAlpine / VolkerFitzpatrick secured the remaining package.

Bam Nuttall / Morgan Sindall / Ferrovial, Laing O’Rourke / FCC / Murphy, Acciona / Sisk / Lagan Construction Group, Hochtief / Dragados / Galliford Try and Bechtel were the firms to miss out.

The contracts will now be officially signed at the end of this month after a standstill period. Construction of the line is expected to begin in 2019.

Skanska / Costain / Strabag landed both southern packages, being chosen for the Euston tunnels and approaches package, worth £740m, and the Northolt Tunnels package, valued at £1bn.

Carillion / Kier / Eiffage have dominated the central packages, picking up the C2 North Portal Chiltern Tunnels to Brackley and the C3 Brackley to Long Itchington Wood Green south portal.

In a statement this morning, Carillion said the deals were worth a combined £1.34bn, with C2 at £724m and C3 £616m.

Balfour Beatty / Vinci won both packages for the northern section of the line, landing the Wood Green tunnel to Delta Junction / Birmingham Spur package and the Delta Junction to West Coast Main Line package.

CN Briefing: HS2

What do the HS2 civils awards mean for the successful and unsuccessful bidders? Read the CN Briefing here

In a statement to the City this morning, Balfour Beatty said the deals would be worth around £2.47bn, adding that Lot N1 was valued at around £1.32bn and Lot N2 around £1.15bn.

The Align JV, made up of Bouygues, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick, secured one package: the Chiltern Tunnel and Colne viaduct worth £965m.

The estimated total value of all seven contracts has been put at £6.6bn by the government, £2bn lower than original upper-value cost estimates.

The lots will be awarded in two stages. Stage one will see teams given a 16-month period to develop a design, a programme and a target cost for the construction of the works.

Stage two will see construction of the main works and is expected to take between four and five years to complete.

Later today transport secretary Chris Grayling is expected to announce the preferred route of phase 2b of the line from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, as well as passing the bill to seek powers construct phase 2a from Birmingham to Crewe.

The parliamentary bill covering phase 2a is set to be published shortly, with trains due to be running from 2027. Phase 2b is due to open in 2033.

The award of the civils contracts comes eight months after HS2 awarded its three enabling packages for the north, central and southern sections of the line worth a total of £900m.

A Skanska / Costain JV won the southern section enabling package, Laing O’Rouke / Murphy JV took the northern section, while the Bam Nuttall / Ferrovial / Morgan Sindall JV won the central section of the line.

Over the weekend the Sunday Times reported that HS2 would be the most expensive railway line in the world, costing more than £400m per mile.

The estimates came from a a government-commissioned report by Michael Byng, the expert who devised the standard method used by Network Rail to cost its projects.

Speaking on the BBC this morning, Mr Grayling rubbished Mr Byng’s estimates, calling them “nonsense” and saying Mr Byng had no involvement in the project.

He added that at no point so far had Mr Byng been able to explain to the DfT wher he had got his figures from.

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