Bechtel ready to take over HS2 Crewe-to-Manchester contract

HS2 has confirmed that American construction and engineering giant Bechtel has been appointed as the development partner for the second phase of the high speed rail line, taking over the role initially awarded to CH2M.

CH2M withdrew from the procurement process at the end of March, after the appropriateness of its appointment was called into question due to a potential conflict of interest. CH2M’s contract award came two weeks after HS2 selected CH2M’s European managing director Mark Thurston to be its new chief executive. Thurston is set to take over from interim chief executive Roy Hill, who was on secondment from CH2M.

Following CH2M’s withdrawal, HS2 opened discussions with second place bidder, Bechtel, while third place bidder Mace has repeatedly called for the procurement process to be rerun and has said it’s considering legal action.

The contract in question refers to part of the high speed rail line known as phase 2b, which covers the construction of the Crewe to Manchester and West Midlands to Leeds lines.

An HS2 spokesperson said: “HS2 can confirm that Bechtel are being taken forward to the next stage of the 2b development partner procurement process. The bidder now enters the standstill period allowed for under the process prior to contract award. Following discussions, we are confident they are able and prepared to deliver the contract on time, on budget, and to a high standard.”

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