Yesterday saw another momentous step taken in the process of bringing High Speed Two (HS2) to Britain, as formal contracts were signed.
The contracts were for the first phase of work which will see tunnels, bridges and earthworks delivered to carry the rail link from London to Birmingham.
This is the next step from the news we reported last month when the government announced £6.6 billion worth of contracts had been awarded to deliver Phase I.
Not only will this level of investment boost the economy, but the supply chain will hugely benefit, and 60% of these opportunities will go to SMEs.
More than 16,000 jobs will be supported on the project in the next six years as part of the target to finish the London to Birmingham link by 2026.
All delivery partners were present at the official signing, and more detail was given on specifics of the project.
HS2 Ltd Chief Executive was present, along with representatives from those businesses awarded contracts last month; SCS JV, Align JV, CEK JV and Balfour Beatty VINCI.
The two-stage contract will see these contractors and joint ventures work for 16 months with HS2 Ltd on design work, with construction set to begin either next year or the start of 2019.
Mark Thurston spoke about the benefits of HS2 during the contract signing in Birmingham.
He said: “HS2 is more than just a railway. The contracts we sign today will provide much needed extra capacity and connectivity between our major cities, but it will also unlock huge opportunities for new jobs, homes and economic development and start to rebalance our economy.
“We are determined to deliver the project to new levels of safety and efficiency, with respect for communities, protection for the environment and value for money at the core of everything we do.
“The contracts we signed will support 16,000 jobs and generate thousands of contract opportunities within the wider supply chain, spreading the benefits of this investment across the whole country.”