The preferred bidders for the first three contracts to build the £55.7 billion HS2 rail line have been chosen.
It is understood that joint ventures between Costain / Skanska, Morgan Sindall / Bam Nuttall / Ferrovial and Laing O’Rourke / Murphy have been chosen as the successful bidders for the three phase one enabling packages worth a combined total of £900 million.
Last December, the shortlist for the £300 million enabling packages was revealed, with five consortiums battling it out for each of the North, Central and South sections of the line.
It is understood that Costain / Skanska has won the southern section of the line, Laing O’Rourke / Murphy has scooped the northern section and Morgan Sindall / Bam Nuttall / Ferrovial’s Fusion JV will take on the central section.
The procurement process is now set to go into a period of standstill, with official contracts set to be awarded in the next few weeks if there are no challenges.
Major joint ventures between Balfour Beatty / Vinci and Carillion / Eiffage / Kier missed out on all three lots, while Bouygues / Sir Robert McAlpine / Morrison Utility Services / VolkerFitzpatrick and Galliford Try / Hochtief / Dragados missed out on one each.
Included in the work will be site clearances, structural reinforcements, demolition, drainage and other associated work. The work is due to get underway early next year.
The award of the enabling contract has come almost two months later than scheduled, with companies having initially expected a decision to be made on HS2 in August.
Last week, companies submitted bids for the first of the seven civil packages, worth a total of £11.8 billion.
Bids for the remaining six packages will be submitted between now and Christmas. HS2 expects to award the civils packages in the spring, which have a combined value of £11.8bn.