Businesses are being invited to tender for the first major works contracts to be awarded on Phase 2a of HS2.
The new £50 million programme – known as Early Civils Work – Package 2 (ECW2) – includes a range of enabling works designed to reduce disruption during the main build stage of the project, such as major highways works and associated utility diversions as well as a range of environmental and other surveys along the 58km route.
The works will be the first major preparatory activity to be carried out for Britain’s new high speed rail line beyond its first phase, which is now being built between the West Midlands and London.
Linking Birmingham to Crewe, Phase 2a will carry trains bound for destinations such as Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and the North West.
Alongside speeding up journey times, the new infrastructure will also free up capacity on the existing network for more local trains and freight by rail.
This could see services rise from hourly to half-hourly or better between Crewe and Stoke-on-Trent to Nuneaton, Tamworth, Lichfield and Rugeley, as well as more services from Crewe and Runcorn into Liverpool, as well as via Crewe between North Wales, Chester and London.
The ECW2 package will awarded via the Government’s existing Construction Works and Associated Services framework with contracts expected to be awarded in early 2021.
HS2 Ltd’s procurement and commercial director, David Poole, said: “The winner of this contract will play a vital role in delivering the next stage of Britain’s new high speed railway, taking the route north from Birmingham to Crewe and by using the Government’s existing framework we hope to streamline the procurement process.
“HS2’s Phase 2a represents a massive opportunity for businesses in the north of England and across the UK in the short term, and in the longer term it will speed up journeys for trains bound for places like Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and the North West, and release much-needed extra capacity on the existing mainline.”
HS2 has already begun a detailed programme of ground investigation along the 2a route and confirmed this week that the latest package – worth £25 to £30 million – has been awarded to Balfour Beatty.