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Ellie Taylor & Anna Whitehouse 12am - 1am
17 July 2017, 12:07
Construction company Carillion have been named as one of the winners of £6.6 billion worth of contracts for the development of the controversial HS2 rail line.
It comes as Carillon company shares had fallen by 70 per cent after its chief executive stepped down and it admitted it will take £845m of write-downs on some of its largest projects.
But today it was announced that alongside engineering group Kier and French construction company Eiffage, Carillion has been awarded two contracts worth a combined £1.3 billion to build tunnels on the central section of the route.
It'll include surface works between the Chilterns and Long Itchington in Warwickshire on the £24.3 billion first phase of the £55 billion project, which covers 140 miles between London and Birmingham.
The other big winners were listed builder Costain, whose consortium with Austria’s Strabag and Gherkin builder Skanska has won two deals worth £1.85 billion in total for tunnelling works taking the route from Euston to Old Oak Common and out to the M25.
The seven companies to win contracts also included Emirates and Olympic stadium builder Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and France’s Vinci.
In all the first phase of HS2 is expected to support 16,000 jobs.
Opponents of the £55.7 billion project claim it will run over budget, create havoc during construction and have disastrous environmental consequences.
Joe Rukin, of the Stop HS2 campaign, said: "The case for HS2 has been invented by the very cheerleaders who intend to rake in billions of taxpayers' money which is desperately needed elsewhere, so it really is time to ditch this gigantic white elephant before it is too late."
In February, Parliament granted powers to build the first phase of the line, which will see trains travel at high speed between London and Birmingham before running on from Birmingham on the existing West Coast Main Line.
Preparatory work has begun and major construction projects are due to launch in 2018/19.
Mr Grayling will soon publish a Bill to deliver Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe, with services expected to begin in 2027.
Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, and Birmingham to the East Midlands and Leeds, is due to open in 2033.