A decision on the final route for the High Speed 2 link between London and the West midlands looks set to be delayed as the government considers introducing a 1.5-mile tunnel under the Chiltern Hills.
As part of the National Infrastructure Plan 2, published last week, the government had been expected to set out its final route before the end of the year, however that decision is now expected to be delayed until the New Year.
Transport secretary Justine Greening is due to make a statement about the HS2 link this week, but is expected to delay a final decision on the controversial scheme until next month.
Opponents of the £32bn scheme cite the visual impact of the link as part of their campaign against the link, with the potential £500m tunnel a way of minimising the impact by going under the Chiltern Hills.
In a letter to the Sunday Telegraph, transport leaders including former Railtrak director Sir Christopher Foster, called on the government to withdraw its plans as the economic case for the scheme was flawed.
HS2 has already begun the search for a consultant for the scheme in a contract worth up to £350 million. Former Crossrail chief executive Rob Holden told Construction News in October that the scheme would fail unless it received support from the top politicians in government.