Contractors gearing up as HS2 building costs double to £12BN


Confirmation that Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier and Sir Robert McAlpine can start building HS2 has come with details of the cost of their individual projects on the high-speed railway that has spiralled from £6.6 billion to £12 billion.

Balfour Beatty will construct the most complicated part of the first phase of HS2, running from London to Birmingham. It will work with Vinci, of France, on the leg between Warwickshire and Birmingham Curzon Street, including a delta junction at Birmingham airport.

When they were handed the project nearly three years ago, it was expected to cost £2.5 billion. A notice-to-proceed from the government yesterday has put the cost of the Balfour-Vinci work at £4.5 billion.

When Eiffage, of France, was granted the £1.3 billion leg from Warwickshire to the mouth of the HS2 tunnels under the Chilterns, it was supposed to work with Carillion and Kier. Their problems have opened the door to BAM, of the Netherlands, and Ferrovial, of Spain. The bill for their work is set to be £2.3 billion.

Bouygues, also of France, is working with Volker Fitzpatrick, an Anglo- Dutch company, and Sir Robert McAlpine on the Chiltern tunnels. Its bill has gone up from £1 billion to £1.6 billion.

The consortium tunnelling out of London is made up of Costain, Skanska, the Swedish group, and Strabag, an Austrian tunneller. Its bill has risen from £1.8 billion to £3.3 billion.