Manchester

Engineering firm CH2M pulls out of HS2 railway line deal

HS2 impression Image copyright PA
Image caption An artist's impression of how the new link would look

An engineering firm chosen to deliver part of the HS2 high speed rail line says it is withdrawing from part of the project.

CH2M's £170m contract was to develop Phase 2b, namely stretches from Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds.

But the contract signing was delayed as officials were reportedly investigating concerns from rival bidder Mace over alleged conflicts of interest.

CH2M blamed the exit on "protracted delays and ongoing speculation".

A spokesman said: "CH2M has demonstrated all appropriate measures taken throughout to ensure the integrity of the procurement process."

Chief executive Jacqueline Hinman wrote to HS2 Ltd chairman Sir David Higgins to "formally advise him of their withdrawal of interest" in the Phase 2b development partner contract.

'Fully committed'

An HS2 Ltd spokesman said it was "a decision which we welcome".

The US-based company has been involved with HS2 Ltd since 2012 and has been awarded a £350m deal to develop Phase 1 of the line from London to Birmingham, which it said it was "fully committed" to working on.

That phase of the £55.7bn HS2 scheme is scheduled to open in December 2026, with the second, Y-shaped, phase launching in two stages.

The line from Birmingham to Crewe will open in 2027, with the remaining construction - including a spur taking HS2 to a new station at Manchester Airport - due to finish six years later.

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