The initial costs for the main civil engineering contracts for the first phase of the HS2 rail link are £1bn over budget, which could lead to delays in starting the works, it has been reported.
The seven contracts covering the work were announced last July by transport secretary Chris Grayling, who said they were estimated to be worth £6.6bn and were ‘the biggest HS2 contracts to date’.
According to New Civil Engineer (NCE) ‘multiple sources close to the project’ have said that interim costs submitted by contractors are currently above the £6.6bn figure.
It said sources reported that the collective price was coming in at ‘around £1.2bn’ over budget, but also that some individual bids were as much as 30% to 40% higher than their target prices. Joint ventures for all four of the main civil works are currently coming in above budget it was suggested.
NCE said it also understands that the notice to proceed with the works has been pushed back from November until next February. One source is said to have been told to ‘go away and sharpen their pencils’ to cut costs.
An spokesperson for HS2 Ltd said: ‘We remain on track, and within our original cost package.’
Joe Rukin, campaign manager at Stop HS2, said: 'The sad reality is that despite the fact the cost of HS2 has almost doubled since it was first announced and that construction is already over a year late, we have a transport secretary who can say nothing except that he believes "HS2 is on time and on budget", despite the fact it is absolutely clear prioritising HS2 is already starving the rest of the rail network of any investment, and this will continue for decades if it goes ahead.'
The contracts are:
Euston Tunnels and Approaches – SCS JV (Skanska Construction UK Ltd, Costain Ltd, STRABAG AG)
Northolt Tunnels – SCS JV (Skanska Construction UK Ltd, Costain Ltd, STRABAG AG)
Chiltern Tunnels and Colne Valley Viaduct – Align JV (Bouygues Travaux Publics, VolkerFitzpatrick, Sir Robert McAlpine)
North Portal Chiltern Tunnels to Brackley – CEK JV (Carillion Construction Ltd, Eiffage Genie Civil SA, Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd)
Brackley to South Portal of Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel – CEK JV (Carillion Construction Ltd, Eiffage Genie Civil SA, Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd)
Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel to Delta Junction and Birmingham Spur – BBV JV (Balfour Beatty Group Ltd, VINCI Construction Grands Projets, VINCI Construction UK Ltd, VINCI Construction Terrassement)
Delta Junction to WCML Tie-In – BBV JV (Balfour Beatty Group Ltd, VINCI Construction Grands Projets, VINCI Construction UK Ltd, VINCI Construction Terrassement)