Industry

07 SEP 2022

WEST MIDLANDS HS2 STATION PROJECT WILL SUPPORT 1,000 JOBS

The contract to build HS2’s eco-friendly Interchange Station in Solihull, recently awarded to Laing O’Rourke, is set to support around 1,000 jobs over the next five years.

The West Midlands jobs boost announcement will include 22 new apprenticeship roles, providing training opportunities for local people looking to learn new skills and start a new career.

Supply chain contracts will also be available for businesses in the region, including construction related services, specialist equipment supply and manufactured components, as well as catering, cleaning, printing and recycling services.

Already appointed to the project is AECOM which has been named as Laing O’Rourke’s design partner and will deliver multidisciplinary design services for the new station.

HS2’s Interchange Station will be the catalyst for huge growth plans in Solihull, creating an economic transformation for the region. The plans, being led by the Urban Growth Company, will support 30,000 jobs, up to 3,000 new homes and 70,000sq m of commercial space.

This forms part of the wider UK Central Hub area plans for 70,000 jobs, 8,000 new homes and 650,000m2 of commercial space, generating £6.2bn GVA per year and bringing 1.3m people to within a 45-minute public transport commute of the station.

Mark Thurston, HS2’s CEO, said: “Interchange Station will be transformational for the Midlands, with fantastic opportunities for people and businesses in the region being created right now, years before the station is open.

“The design of Interchange will make it one of the most sustainable stations anywhere in the world. Harnessing the latest green technology and designs will provide exciting jobs, training and supply chain opportunities, as we begin to build a world-class transport hub for the UK.”

The station site covers an area of 150 hectares within a triangle of land formed by the M42, A45 and A452. 

Significant progress has already been made on the site, including the construction of modular bridges over the M42 and A446 as part of a remodelled road network in the area to facilitate access to the new station.

In 2023, after an initial 12 month planning stage, Laing O’Rourke will start the detailed design. HS2’s main works contractor, Balfour Beatty VINCI, are currently preparing the site ready for construction to start in 2024. The station is due for completion in 2027 in advance of the railway opening between 2029 and 2033.

Declan McGeeney, director of UK infrastructure at Laing O’Rourke, said: “We’re proud to have been appointed to such a significant project for HS2 and for the Midlands region. Our teams have delivered major rail projects across the UK and we’ll be drawing on our experience of using modern methods of construction (MMC) to ensure project certainty.

“The ambition to make this one of the most sustainable stations in the world allows us to push the boundaries of MMC even further and it’s going to be an exciting project for all involved, including local and regional suppliers and especially for early talent who will join our team and use this experience as a springboard into construction and engineering.”

Richard Whitehead, managing director Buildings + Places, Europe at AECOM, added: “Interchange Station is a vital component of the UK’s new high speed network and will make a hugely positive contribution in terms of improving connectivity, bringing economic growth to the West Midlands and enabling the important model shift to public transport for more people in the region. 

“A focus for our team will be to reduce embodied and operational carbon through our designs, ensuring a deliverable scheme that achieves its preliminary BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ certification. We look forward to bringing our truly multidisciplinary offer to the project, working with Laing O’Rourke and HS2 to help deliver this flagship, low carbon station.”

There will be up to five trains per hour passing through the station in both directions, with an estimated total of 175,000 seats per day, making this one of the best-connected transport interchanges in the country.

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