HS2 has appointed Aecom as its lead consultant for route-wide ground investigations on the planned Birmingham to Manchester rail line, handing it a contract valued at £85m.
At the same time, eight contractors have signed a £215m framework to carry out the ground investigation work.
The eight contractors are Bam Ritchies, Fugro GeoServices, Geotechnical Engineering Ltd, RPS Group, Socotec UK, Soil Engineering Geoservices, Strata Geotechnics (part of Van Elle) and Structural Soils Ltd.
CH2MHill (now Jacobs) performed the Aecom role on the London-Birmingham first phase.
Both contracts run for eight years, from September 2023 to September 2031.
Meanwhile, authoritative press reports have been suggesting that prime minister Rishi Sunak is on the point of pulling the plug on the second phase of HS2 because of the escalating project costs. He refused to be drawn on the subject in a round of local radio interviews yesterday and would neither confirm nor deny that the second phase was about to be axed.
An announcement on phase two is now expected in the chancellor’s autumn statement, scheduled for 22nd November, assuming the government can keep the lid on it for that long.