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19.04.17

Bechtel awarded HS2 phase 2b contract after CH2M pulls out

US firm Bechtel has been chosen to deliver the £170m phase 2b development partner contract that was previously being completed by CH2M.

CH2M decided to pull out of the procurement process at the end of last month after one of the losing bidders, Mace, threatened a legal action against the competition, commenting that it had “never seen a procurement process like this”.

In the original procurement, Bechtel came second and Mace, which could still mount a legal challenge against the new contract award, came third.

An HS2 spokesperson told RTM: “HS2 Ltd can confirm that Bechtel are being taken forward to the next stage of the 2b development partner procurement process.

“The bidder now enters the standstill period allowed for under the process prior to contract award.

“Following discussions we are confident they are able and prepared to deliver the contract on time, on budget, and to a high standard.”

This development also comes on the same day that transport secretary Chris Grayling and Sir David Higgins, non-executive chairman of HS2, are grilled by the Transport Select Committee about flaws in the procurement for phase 2b and the scrapped and re-launched award of a separate £10m commercial management services contract.

Chair of the committee, Louise Ellman MP, said: “HS2 has the potential to deliver significant benefits. As with any investment of this size, however, it is essential that it is managed effectively.

“The withdrawal of CH2M from a major HS2 contract raises several questions which must be answered. We will be asking the secretary of state and Sir David Higgins to explain the circumstances behind CH2M's withdrawal and what lessons need to be learnt.”

Other major questions have been raised about the delivery of HS2, including from Lord Berkeley, who called for a review into the high-speed route after a report predicted that costs for phase 1 alone were likely to soar to £48bn, leaving no budget left to deliver phase 2a and 2b. He will be writing about this issue in the upcoming April/May issue of RTM, due to hit desks at the beginning of May.

Top Image: HS2 Ltd Birmingham and Fazeley canal viaduct

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