"Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announces decisions that take HS2 an important step closer to realising the full potential of the scheme"
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"Today (15 November 2016) I am announcing the government’s preferred route for HS2 lines from Crewe to Manchester and from the West Midlands to Leeds – known as Phase 2b – helping to rebalance our economy beyond London and the south-east, ensuring economic prosperity and opportunities are shared throughout the country.
"It means that following on from the 2013 consultation and work we have done since, I am today confirming the majority of the route. There are also a number of cases, including the proposed route through South Yorkshire recommended by Sir David Higgins in a report earlier this year, where I am proposing substantial refinements. I am launching a consultation to seek the views of communities and other interested parties before reaching a decision on those sections next year.!
"... Mr Speaker, I also need to touch briefly on Phase One. I should report to the House that Phase One - from Birmingham to London - is progressing well. Construction work is due to start next year, subject to Royal Assent. Phase One will open in 2026.
"In a clear signal of how work is progressing Mr Speaker, this morning I have also announced the companies that have been awarded the Phase One enabling works contracts.
"These works include archaeology, site clearance and setting up construction compounds – ahead of the start of the main civil engineering work.
"These contracts are worth up to £900 million and cover the whole of Phase One, from London to Birmingham and the connection to the West Coast Mainline at Handsacre, as I say,work is due to begin in the spring."