The UK Government has awarded contracts worth £900m for enabling Phase I works of the High-Speed 2 (HS2) project linking London with the West Midlands.
The contracts cover complete works relating to Phase I, from London to Birmingham, and connection to the West Coast Mainline at Handsacre.
Three joint ventures (JVs) have been selected to deliver works that include archaeology, site clearance and setting-up construction compounds, before starting the main civil engineering work.
The government also confirmed its preferred route for Phase IIb of the scheme, taking the line from Crewe to Manchester, and from the West Midlands to Leeds.
This Y-shaped corridor will link to the existing East Coast and West Coast main lines.
The JVs selected are CS JV (Costain Group Plc, Skanska Construction UK) for Area South, Fusion JV (Morgan Sindall, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman) for Area Central and LM JV (Laing O’Rourke Construction, J Murphy & Sons) for Area North.
The contractors will also perform activities such as utility diversions, ecology surveys, demolition, ground remediation and watercourse activities.
Other activities include highways realignments, monitoring and instrumentation, structural reinforcements and drainage work.
HS2 construction managing director Jim Crawford said: “Today’s announcement marks an important milestone as we continue to move towards the start of construction and the beginning of a challenging new phase in the project.
“Over the coming years, our new partners will deliver the essential preparatory work we need to deliver the main construction programme on time and on budget, as well as creating jobs and training opportunities for thousands of people all along the route from London to the West Midlands and across our UK-wide supply chain.”