HS2 Announces Formal Start of Construction

HS2 Ltd has today (4 September 2020) announced the formal start of construction on the high-speed railway line. This follows the DfT’s approval for HS2 Ltd to issue the Notice to Proceed to the project’s four Main Works Civils Contractors to begin full detailed design and construction of Phase 1.

Today’s announcement marks a move from enabling works, scheme design and preparatory work to full construction. This new phase of the project will be coupled with a major hiring drive.

Chiltern Tunnel South Portal HS2
Chiltern Tunnel South Portal HS2

The Balfour Beatty VINCI JV, the main works contractor for the West Midlands, has said it expects to be one of the biggest recruiters in the region over the next couple of years. It will need up to 7,000 skilled workers to complete its section of the high-speed route.

The EKFB JV meanwhile, which will build the section from the Long Itchington Wood site in Warwickshire south to the Chiltern tunnel portals will recruit more than 4,000 individuals over the next two years as well.

The HS2 Tier One construction partners in Greater London will together recruit more than 10,000 employees, while HS2 Ltd is itself recruiting for 500 new roles over the next quarter. The majority of these will be based in Birmingham.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“Today marks a major milestone in this government’s ambitions to build back better from Covid-19.

“Shovels in the ground to deliver this new railway means thousands of jobs building the future of our country’s infrastructure. This fantastic moment is what leaders across the North and Midlands have called for – action to level up our country by boosting capacity on our railways, improving connections between our regions, and spreading prosperity.”

Phase 1 of HS2 will create around 400,000 supply chain contract opportunities. Around 95 percent of those will likely be won by UK-based businesses and roughly two thirds of them will be SMEs.

Mark Thurston, CEO, HS2 Ltd, said:

“This is a hugely exciting moment in the progress of HS2. After 10 years of development and preparatory work, today we can formally announce the start of full construction, unlocking thousands of jobs and supply chain opportunities across the project.

“We are already seeing the benefits that building HS2 is bringing to the UK economy in the short term, but it’s important to emphasise how transformative the railway will be for our country when operational. With the start of construction, the reality of high speed journeys joining up Britain’s biggest cities in the North and Midlands and using that connectivity to help level up the country has just moved a step closer.”

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