US architecture firm Jacobs Engineering Group has secured a contract from Network Rail (NR) in the UK to improve links from the Great Western main line to London Heathrow Airport.
The proposed 3.1 mile tunnelled route will facilitate passengers across west England, allowing direct travel from Reading and Slough to Heathrow Airport.
The project is expected to reduce traffic congestion on roads and cut down carbon emissions by the equivalent of 30 million passenger road miles every year, but will also boost the local economy with new businesses in the region.
Under the deal, Jacobs Engineering will be responsible for supporting NR's development consent order (DCO) submission. The company's buildings and infrastructure senior vice-president Bob Duff said: “We started supporting Network Rail on its feasibility plans for this essential rail link in October 2011.
“Being able to continue our collaboration in an effort to help Network Rail realise the extensive social, economic, and environmental goals of this important project is exciting.
“We are leveraging our experience with the DCO process to support the delivery of sustainable design and compelling application.”
The company will have to lead the multi-disciplinary engineering and environmental design component to an approval-in-principle level of design for the new rail link. Over the next 27 months, Jacobs is expected to provide its service to the rail project from its offices in the UK.