UK government reveals HS2 contract winners17/07/17Government
The winners of £6.6bn (~€7.5bn) worth of contracts to build the first phase of HS2 between London and Birmingham, UK, have been announced by the government.
UK firms Carillion, Costain and Balfour Beatty are among the consortiums who will build tunnels, bridges and embankments on the first stretch of the new high speed rail line.
The contracts are to support 16,000 jobs.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “As well as providing desperately needed new seats and better connecting our major cities, HS2 will help rebalance our economy.”
However, critics have said the £56bn project will damage the environment and is too expensive.
Grayling said that the high-speed rail network would be “on time, on budget” and the government had “a clear idea of what it will cost”.
He disputed a report that emerged detailing a study by quantity surveyor Michael Byng who estimated that the cost of HS2 could inflate to more than £100bn, making it the most expensive railway in the world. Grayling described the figure as “nonsense”.
Commenting on the decision to spend on infrastructure despite the 1% cap on public sector pay, Grayling said: “That’s a very different issue because we are talking about capital investment over the next 15 years. We are not talking about current spending that the chancellor will decide on come the Budget.”
Parliament granted powers to build the first phase of the line between London and Birmingham in February.
Preliminary work has begun and major construction work is due to start in 2018-19. It is due to open in December 2026.
A Bill to deliver Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe will be published by Grayling later on today (17 July). Services on this section are due to begin in 2027.
The final routes of the Manchester and Leeds branches of HS2 are due to be announced later.