HS2 - Fradley Feasibility Study Hiccup22 October 2013
In mid-August IWA trustees agreed to retain rail consulting engineers to undertake a feasibility study of the Association's proposals for an alternative route for HS2 at Fradley, aiming to avoid three of the four proposed crossings of the Trent & Mersey Canal over a 1000m stretch from above Shade House Lock to beyond Wood End Lock. Despite careful preparation of a tender invitation and specification for the work which was issued to three consultants in late August, IWA received no bids for the work by the closing date of late September.
This was both frustrating and concerning, damaging the Association's ability to collect factual evidence to support IWA's case. However, subsequent discussions with Canal & River Trust’s Head of Engineering George Ballinger, chair of CRT’s HS2 Steering Group, resulted in an offer to forward the specification to their consultants Hyder to price the work. After further detailed discussions with Peter Walker, Engineering Manager South and CRT’s technical lead on HS2 issues, IWA has agreed a joint specification based on the Association's original and is now awaiting Hyder’s response and proposals.
Subject to receiving a satisfactory proposal from Hyder, which has significant experience in rail engineering work as company in the top ten in the UK, IWA and CRT will then be able to progress the Feasibility Study and jointly consider the outcome. As before, if the report confirms IWA’s position, this evidence would then be used to discuss with Canal & River Trust's HS2 team and other stakeholders how we can use the information to defend the waterways at Fradley from HS2’s current extremely damaging proposals to the 200-year-old setting of the canal as legislation moves into Parliament.