The Department for Transport (DfT) has issued HS2 Ltd with an official Notice to Proceed (NtP) on £12bn worth of contracts for phase one of the project.
HS2 Ltd has signed off the four main civils contracts marking the start of the detailed design and core construction of the London to Birmingham section of the high speed rail network.
The issuing of NtP marks the point where the Main Works Civils Contractors (MWCC) move from scheme design and preparatory work, to full detailed design and construction.
The MWCCs will start work immediately, progressing detailed design, site preparation works and placing important sub-contracts.
The Joint Ventures and construction companies involved, and their areas of the route are as follows:
- SCS Railways (Skanska Construction UK Ltd, Costain Ltd, STRABAG AG) - £3.3bn
Working on: Euston Tunnels and Approaches, Northolt Tunnels
- Align JV (Bouygues Travaux Publics SAS, a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick, a subsidiary of VolkerWessels UK) - £1.6bn
Working on: Chiltern Tunnels and Colne Valley Viaduct
- EKFB JV (Eiffage Genie Civil SA, Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman) - £2.3bn
Working on: North Portal Chiltern Tunnels to Brackley, Brackley to South Portal of Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel
- BBV JV (Balfour Beatty Group Ltd, VINCI Construction Grands Projets, VINCI Construction UK Ltd, VINCI Construction Terrassement) - £4.8bn
Working on: Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel to Delta Junction and Birmingham Spur, Delta Junction to West Coast Main Line Tie-In (Handsacre Junction)
Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd, said: 'In these difficult times, today’s announcement represents both an immediate boost to the construction industry - and the many millions of UK jobs that the industry supports - and an important investment in Britain’s future: levelling up the country, improving our transport network and changing the way we travel to help bring down carbon emissions and improve air quality for the next generation.'
HS2 Ltd said in a statement that 'an estimated 400,000 supply chain contract opportunities for UK businesses will be created during Phase One of HS2, supporting thousands of on-site jobs and many more around the country'.
Around 95% of these contract opportunities are set to be won by UK based businesses and around two thirds of those will be small and medium sized businesses,' it added.
Contractors will continuously review their ability to work within Public Health England guidelines around COVID-19.
Partial start of Phase One passenger services between Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street are due to begin between 2029 and 2033. Full Phase One services from Euston are forecast to start between 2031 and 2036.