Some little box has been ticked within government to say that the full-on construction of HS2 may now begin, even though vast chunks of terminal sites have already been flattened in preparation for the on/off high-speed rail line.
The line is now 100 per cent on, though, so as long as workers adhere to coronavirus guidelines they may begin putting their shovels in the ground, then leaning on them, then maybe getting down to it later. The nod was given via a formal Notice to Proceed declaration that was handed to main contractors by the Department for Transport today, allowing the civil engineers to move from mere smashing preparation ground work to the full building phase via £12bn of now-approved initial contracts.
HS2 CEO Mark Thurston said: "In these difficult times, today's announcement represents both an immediate boost to the construction industry – and the many millions of UK jobs that the industry supports – and an important investment in Britain's future," promising that the green signal means thousands of skilled jobs are protected for however long it takes to get the thing done at last, and giving us the dream of a normal future where all we have to moan about is the trains being late and having shit Wi-Fi. [Reuters]