HS2 boss wants project benefits quicker

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Posted by APM on 18th Mar 2014

HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins has insisted that building work on the northern section of the 50bn project should be accelerated.

In his HS2 Plus report for the government, Sir David recommends a series of changes, including building the initial part of the project from London to Crewe by 2027, instead of reaching Birmingham by 2026. The second phase of HS2 could then be completed by 2030 instead of 2033.

He told the BBC: The section north of Birmingham to Crewe is relatively straightforward to build and relatively lower-cost than other parts on the northern network.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin recently admitted that legislation needed to build the HS2 project wouldnt become law before the 2015 general election.

Under current plans for phase two, tracks to cities including Manchester and Leeds would be built by 2033. The projected cost of the project is almost 43bn, including a contingency of more than 14bn, with an additional 7bn extra for trains.

Sir David added: HS2 is vital for the future of the country it could be a catalyst for fundamental change.

If we speed up phase two, it would deliver the benefits of HS2 in terms of better services to the north much sooner.

Sir David was previously the chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority ensuring Londons Olympic Park was delivered on time and on budget and was made HS2 chairman in January this year.

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