HS2 secures DfT approval to begin high-speed railway construction


High Speed 2 (HS2) has secured approval from the Department for Transport (DfT) to issue a notice to proceed to the four main civil construction contractors (MWCC) working on the project.

The signing of the four contracts, worth £12bn in total, marks a significant step of phase one of the project.

The four contractors include SCS Railways, which is a consortium of Skanska, Costain, Strabag; Align joint venture (JV) comprising Bouygues, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick; EKFB JV involving Eiffage, Kier, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman; and BBV JV involving Balfour Beatty and VINCI.

HS2 CEO Mark Thurston 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.”

With the approval, the four contractors will now undertake full detailed design and construction of Phase One of the HS2 railway (the route from London – West Midlands).

The scope of the work includes progressing detailed design, site preparation works and placing important sub-contracts.

Aimed to significantly improve connectivity in the North and Midlands, HS2 will integrate the existing network serving stations into Scotland.

Upon completion, HS2 will serve more than 25 stations connecting nearly 30 million people. The project is expected to create 500,000 extra jobs and 90,000 homes around HS2 stations.

Thurston added: “While the country’s focus is rightly on defeating COVID-19, the issuing of Notice to Proceed today ensures that our contractors and their supply chains have the confidence that they can commit to building HS2, generating thousands of skilled jobs across the country as we recover from the pandemic.”

Illustration of HS2 project in the UK. (Credit: High Speed Two Ltd)

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