Project promoter HS2 Ltd has begun the process of contractor engagement for phase 2a of the high-speed rail programme, covering the stretch between the West Midlands and Crewe.
The organisation has opened a registration page for companies to register their interest in taking part in the market engagement process. Potential bidders will then be issued with further information.
Detailed design work is expected to start next year for what will be the first part of the western leg of the HS2 network. Phase 2a is expected to cost around £3.5bn to deliver.
The line itself is to be of around 58km and will ink with phase one of HS2 in the Midlands, and with the existing west coast mainline south of Crewe.
As the project stands, elements of it will include a 2.1km bored tunnel, 8km of viaducts, 19m cubic metres of embankments, 20m cubic metres of cuttings, 61 bridges and a maintenance depot.
The northern part of HS2 has again been in the headlines recently, with some high profile politicians calling for the project to be axed. Public consultation was this month started on parts including the phase 2b route up to Manchester.
In Match, the Government confirmed its approval for the requested full programme of works for Crewe station, including the extension of Platform 5 to 400m, which will allow the splitting and joining of services and offer the ability to plug in high-speed links to Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield.
The same month saw Cheshire East Council sign off a £42m highways programme designed to unlock a number of sites in the north of the town in anticipation of HS2’s arrival. A draft masterplan was drawn up a year ago, outlining ambitions to create 3.5m sq ft of commercial development and 7,000 homes in the Crewe area by 2043.