A shortlist of firms vying to secure a £240 million civil engineering contract on HS2 has been unveiled.
The six bidders are hoping to land the major contract to work on the £3.48 billion, 36-mile phase 2a section of the new high-speed rail line between Birmingham and Crewe.
They are BAM, Galliford Try, John Graham, Kier, Laing O’Rourke and Skanska.
The tender is for a two-part enabling works contract which will include land assembly, environmental mitigation, establishment of haul routes and site compounds and preparing the trace of the line.
This preparatory work is due to commence in a year’s time and will enable the start of the main civils works in summer 2024.
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The contract will split between two companies to deliver either the northern or southern sections of the route.
This latest announcement follows HS2 beginning the search in June for the phase 2a design and delivery partner for a £500 million contract.
The winning bidder of this tender will lead the delivery of the route, including managing and co-ordinating key contracts for the railway’s detailed design and construction.
This section of HS2, which received royal assent in February, includes 17 viaducts, 65 bridges and track and is expected to support 5,000 jobs during its construction.
Six services per hour are planned on the route and the journey time between Crewe and London is expected to be 56 minutes, down from the current fastest time of 90 minutes.
Construction of phase one of HS2 between London, Solihull and Birmingham is well under way.
Phase 2b of the line will see a new section built between Crewe’s existing station and Manchester city centre.
The so-called ‘eastern leg’ of phase 2b is due to run between Birmingham, the East Midlands and Yorkshire but doubt has been cast in recent weeks over whether this will ever be built despite pleas from transport and business leaders.
Others have questioned the cost of the line and whether it is spiralling out of control.
HS2’s chief commercial officer Ruth Todd said: “Our announcement marks another significant step forward in delivery of the next phase of Britain’s high-speed railway which will provide low carbon transport for millions of people.
“Extending the phase 2a route to Crewe will support 6,500 construction jobs and deliver new infrastructure that frees up capacity on the West Coast railway and shortens journey times together with an improved passenger experience.”