US-based construction and civil engineering company Bechtel has been awarded a deal for the delivery of the £170m HS2 Phase IIb project.
CH2M had previously secured the development contract but withdrew from the deal, after claiming that prolonged delays and project uncertainty risks critical national infrastructure, and would increase costs to both the company and UK taxpayers.
A HS2 spokesperson told Rail Technology Magazine: “HS2 can confirm that Bechtel are being taken forward to the next stage of the IIb Development Partner procurement process.
“The bidder now enters the standstill period, allowed for under the process prior to contract award.”
Additionally, the national grassroots campaign against the new railway known as Stop HS2 has called for an independent inquiry to be carried out into development contracts before they are awarded.
Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said: “CH2M walked away from one contract due to conflict of interest, hoping no-one would notice they still have the contract that gives them a massive say in where £8.6bn of Phase 1 construction contracts go.”
“There simply must be an inquiry into how that contract was awarded before CH2M are allowed to divvy up the cake to the rest of construction cartel, who are the ones who lobbied for the ‘need’ to build HS2 in the first place.”
HS2 phase IIb is scheduled to run from Crewe to Manchester, as well as from the West Midlands to Leeds via Sheffield.
The project will link eight of the UK's major cities and free up extra capacity for local passenger and freight services on the existing network, in addition to creating approximately 25,000 jobs.