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  • You are here:HS2

CH2M exits HS2 deal as Bechtel tipped to take over

CH2M has withdrawn from the £170m phase two delivery partner contract for HS2, Construction News can exclusively reveal. 

CH2M’s chairman and chief executive Jacqueline Hinman has confirmed it will withdraw from the phase two development partner contract less than two months after being chosen to carry out the work.

Construction News understands that HS2 will not be re-running the contest and that Bechtel is now in line to take the contract. 

CH2M was confirmed as the preferred bidder for the deal last month but the official contract signing, initially expected to take place on 24 February, was delayed so HS2 could address concerns raised by failed bidder Mace over a potential conflict of interest.

In the most recent revelations, Construction News revealed that HS2 was understood to be looking into the part played by former HS2 chief of staff Christopher Reynolds in the US engineering giant’s tender for the deal. 

Mr Reynolds appears to have been appointed as a programme director at CH2M in March 2017. It is not known by Construction News as to whether Mr Reynolds played any part in any CH2M tender process.

CH2M Highways England programme director Roy Hill was named as HS2 interim chief executive in November 2016, while former CH2M European MD Mark Thurston was appointed chief executive of the megaproject in January.

CH2M said today the decision to withdraw from the contract had been taken due to the protracted delays and speculation risking further delays to the project.

A spokesperson for CH2M said: “CH2M today 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.” 

A Mace spokeperson said: “We have just been informed of CH2M’s decision through the press. The investigation regarding our serious concerns about conflict of interest has clearly raised some serious questions about the process. 

“A meeting is scheduled between Mace and HS2 on Friday, and we look forward to hearing what HS2 proposes to do next and its response to our questions.”

HS2 has previously said that the procurement for the phase 2b deal was the most robust it had carried out and included CH2M enforcing a “Chinese Wall” between its bid team and those already working for HS2.

In a statement today, HS2 said it welcomed the decision by CH2M.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Whaterver happens next, I hope that CH2M's withdrawl does not bring a halt to the investigations, and allow this matter to be swept under the carpet. If there has been corruption the guilty should be punished, and if there hasn't then the good names of the people mentioned should be cleared.

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