AN ENGINEERING firm given the contract to develop HS2’s proposed high speed rail line from Birmingham to Leeds has pulled out of the project.
CH2M was given the £170 million contract last month but there have been allegations of a conflict of interest between it and HS2.
HS2’s previous chief executive Roy Hill was a former member of staff at CH2M, as was the current incumbent Mark Thurston.
It is understood that investigations have taken place by officials after rival contract bidder Mace complained.
Jacqueline Hinman, chairman and CEO of CH2M, has written to HS2 chairman David Higgins to pull out of the Phase 2b Development Partner contract to develop the lines from Birmingham to Leeds — which would cut through Rotherham and the Dearne Valley — and from Crewe to Manchester.
A statement from CH2M said that protracted delays and ongoing speculation could create delays to the project thereby increasing costs to UK taxpayers and the firm.
A spokesperson for CH2M said: “CH2M has provided formal notice to HS2 Ltd that we are withdrawing our interest in the HS2 Phase 2b contract.
“CH2M has demonstrated all appropriate measures taken throughout to ensure the integrity of the procurement process. Notwithstanding these efforts, we have taken the decision to alleviate any further delays to this critical national infrastructure project which could ultimately lead to increasing costs to UK taxpayers, as well as to our firm.”
In a statement, HS2 said that CH2M had withdrawn from the Phase 2 design partnership bid process.
The firm won the contract for developing Phase 1 of the HS2 project from London to Birmingham.