HS2 launches hunt for ground works contractors

The £300m contract will follow that awarded to Kier Construction last week to deliver highways and utility work on the Birmingham to Crewe leg of the high speed rail project.

Kier scooped the job to deliver ‘package 2’ of the enabling civils works designed to minimise disruption during the project’s main build. The company will focus on the 26-mile stretch of route from the West Midlands to Crewe – Phase 2a of the HS2 programme.

“Kier will play a vital role in delivering the next stage of Britain’s new high speed railway, taking the route north from Birmingham to Crewe and I’m really pleased to welcome them to the team,” said HS2 procurement director Andrew Cubitt last week.

Meanwhile, the plans to extend the HS2 route to the North of England took a further step forward as the company launched the search for a team of specialist ground investigation contractors to take on a £300m job.

The single framework contract is split into two lots, including the appointment of a lead ground Investigation partner on an £85m portion of the contract, supported by up to 10 specialist ground investigation contractors to share a £215m tranche.

The procurement is for an initial eight years, with the option to extend for a further two years. Bidders will be shortlisted towards the end of the year with the contract award expected in 2022.

The project will likely be influenced by the outcome of the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan, due to be published later this year, which, among other things, will set out plans for investment in rail services across the North, the HS2 company said in a statement.

The flexible framework approach also allows for contractors to be pulled in to deliver ground investigation work to support the delivery of the wider plan.

At the same time, the Government is forging ahead to enact legislation for the Western leg of Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester “as a priority”, HS2 added. The Phase 2a Hybrid Bill, which will govern that stretch of the railway, received Royal Assent in February.

Said Cubitt: “This framework agreement is an important step in our plans to bring HS2 to the North. It will enable us to procure a comprehensive body of ground investigation data to inform our future civil engineering works.

“The structure of the framework agreement means that more than ten contractors could benefit from the opportunities we are creating, which comes at a vital time for UK businesses seeking stability and growth as we strive to recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

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