Balfour Beatty VINCI moves forward with HS2 work

CGI of HS2 trains at Birmingham Curzon Street station

Future Cities Forum has been reporting on the investment and policy decisions with regards to the UK government's infrastructure programme. On the morning of our February forum, it was announced that HS2 would go ahead. News has now been released that construction company Balfour Beatty VINCI is to start preparatory works following Notice to Proceed from High Speed 2 (HS2) with its two main engineering contracts worth a combined total of £5 billion.

The scope of works comprise extensive earthworks, ground engineering, viaducts and tunnels. Along a 90 kilometer stretch, work will start between the Long Itchington Wood Green tunnel in the south to the West Coast Main Line tie-in near Lichfield in the north with a major junction into Central Birmingham at Curzon Street.

At Future Cities Forum's February conference in London, Matthew Vickerstaff, Deputy Chief Executive of the Infrastructure & Projects Authority, spoke of the need to improve project delivery around nationally important infrastructure:

''From the IPA's perspective Vision 2020 is all about building and improving delivery... It's about improving knowledge and know-how.. This about making sure our leaders have the best skills to lead our projects. We need to improve skills of the 10,000 project professionals across government and to accredit them so that they are equipped. HS2 is one of the largest and most complex projects in the world and it's taken over from Crossrail which is the largest engineering project in Europe.'

Balfour Beatty says the Notice to Proceed 'marks a major milestone in Britain's largest regeneration project which will create thousands of employment opportunities, dramatically increase rail capacity and support the economic growth of the UK.

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive stated:

'HS2 is a transformational infrastructure scheme, underpinning both the economic resilience and future growth of the nation, during these unprecedented and challenging times. Notice to Proceed provides certainty for many businesses up and down the UK, and will drive investment in skills and capability for current and future generations.'

At the peak of construction, a workforce of over 8,000 will be involved in delivering the scheme, many of whom will be locally employed. In addition, Balfour Beatty VINCI will offer approximately 400 apprenticeship and graduate opportunities.

The joint venture of Balfour Beatty, VINCI and SYSTRA was awarded the construction management contract for the £1 billion Old Oak Common station in 2019.

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