HS2 has again sought support from Arup to provide a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the initial second phase development of the HS2 network between Birmingham and Crewe. The 50 mile segment has been prioritised by HS2 to provide faster access between Liverpool, Manchester and London.
The HS2 is a proposed high speed railway network that aims to connect the North of England with London. The proposed high speed network will be developed in two phases. The first phase will connect London with the West Midlands, connecting to Birmingham. The second phase of the project involves a Y shaped extension that connects from Birmingham to Manchester, and a second line connecting Leeds and Sheffield. The terminus is then further connected with slower speed connections into Scotland. The total cost of the megaproject is estimated at £43 billion by the Government; however a study by the Institute of Economic Affairs suggested a total cost of £80 billion. The network is being developed by the Government operated HS2, and while definitive plans are yet to be formalised, a tentative start date for construction is placed in 2017, with Birmingham reached in 2026 and the project to be completed by 2033. The network will support trains travelling up to 225 mph.
Arup has been commissioned to develop the preferred route running 50 miles north from Birmingham to Crewe. The route is part of the second phase of the H2S network, however, in a bid to accelerate access to Manchester and Liverpool (and further north) the development and delivery of the route is planned for one year following the completion of the Birmingham line.
As part of the deal, the consulting firm will run a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), take the route to Preliminary Design phase, and produce the Environmental Statement. The details will be provided to HS2 as an aspect for the project receiving the ‘go ahead’. Arup has further been appointed to the Land Referencing and Site Access Framework, which allows it to arrange access to land for ecological, environmental and engineering surveys. Land acquisitions make up an important, and often opposed, aspect of the HS2’s development and construction.
Commenting on the contracts, Colin Stewart, Global Rail Leader of Arup, says: “This is a fantastic win for Arup, particularly the team who worked on the bid. We have been working with HS2 since 2009 and our knowledge of the project, together with our successful integrated approach to civil and environmental services on Phase One were the key factors in securing this piece of work.”
Arup has worked with HS2 for the past six years, having assisted with the original route option studies which culminated in the Secretary of State’s decision to proceed to a hybrid Bill. The firm has also helped develop aspects of the UK’s highway system, recently winning a contract to design smarter highways.