Abstract motion-blurred view from a moving train, via Istock

Conservative leadership turmoil spells uncertainty for HS2 bidding

The current Conservative Party leadership race is having a delayed knock-on effect with the procurement of the main works civils framework for phase 2a of HS2.

Current prospective bidders are restricted in their advancement within the project, being told that “as a result of the ongoing leadership changes in government, the approvals we need to issue the PQQ have been delayed.” This is delaying the current plans for prequalification for main civil engineering works on the 5.2bn to £7.2bn West Midlands to Crewe stretch of the scheme, extending its original start date of July.

The bid contest was hoped to be signed off by the end of September but is currently hindered as procurement chiefs are awaiting to confirm a new date until there is more clarity around the external factors. The original plan for phase 2a of HS2 was to split the section between two major civils that held a worth of over £1.6bn, but current projections have suggested a rethink towards the split for the 58km section being divvied between seven civils packages.

Phase 2a of the project will see major infrastructural works performed, with requisite tunnel boring being conducted totalling 2.5km, accompanied with 17 viaducts of 6.2km, 61 bridges, 19million m3 of embankments, 20million m3 of cuttings. The design and delivery partners for this project were expected to be announced this month, with shortlisted bidders being 2 Connect JV (AECOM /Costain Integrated Services); AMS JV (Atkins /Mace Consult / SYSTRA; and Jacobs UK.

The successful bidders will helm the delivery of the £500m project, joining Bam Nuttall, Galliford Try, Laing O’Rourke and Skanska who are also waiting to hear this month on the outcome of their race for a £240m two-part enabling works contract.

Works along the route will be split into two packages, seeing the delivery of the northern and southern section’s overseen via separate contractors.

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