HS2 Ltd has announced that they have signed the first new contracts for Phase 2a to create new woods and wetlands as part of the environmental works.
Phase 2a of HS2 will see trains run between the West Midlands and Crewe.
The Early Environmental Contracts, worth £52m, has seen HS2 Ltd partner with Balfour Betty and marks the first stage in extending the high-speed rail line north and follows on from Phase 2a gaining Royal Assent in February 2021.
The 36 mile stretch to Crewe is now estimated to open alongside the first phase from London to Birmingham and will provide high-speed services from London to Crewe via Birmingham, with direct lines to mainline services north.
200 jobs will be supported by the work, which will be completed at 82 sites running north from Fradley.
Work will include tree planting at more than 40 sites, more than 18 miles of hedgerow and enough grassland meadow to cover 140 football pitches.
HS2 Ltd’s Phase 2a delivery director Colette Carroll said: “We said that we wanted to bring the benefits of HS2 to the north earlier than originally planned, and this early environmental works contract with Balfour Beatty on the new route to Crewe will put that promise into action.”
Mark Bullock, Chief Executive Officer of Balfour Beatty’s UK Construction Services business, said: “Balfour Beatty’s contract with HS2 builds on our ‘Building New Futures’ strategy through which we’re committed to leaving a lasting positive legacy for the communities in which we operate. Our work on the route between Crewe and the West Midlands will build a better, greener future for everyone – through our ongoing and essential work to protect the environment, and our continued focus on providing employment opportunities for local businesses and people.”
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