Area South comprising the London Euston tunnels and approaches together with Northolt tunnels has gone to the SCS joint venture of Skanska Construction, Costain, and Strabag.\r\nArea Central consists of three sections. The contract for the Chiltern tunnels and Colne Valley viaduct has been awarded to the Align joint venture of Bouygues Travaux Publics, VolkerFitzpatrick, and Sir Robert McAlpine, while the contracts for the North Portal Chiltern tunnels - Brackley and Brackley - South Portal Long Itchington Wood Green tunnel sections have been placed with the CEK joint venture of Carillion Construction, Eiffage Genie Civil, and Kier Infrastructure & Overseas.\r\nThe BBV joint venture of Balfour Beatty Group and three Vinci Construction divisions has won both Area North contracts for the Long Itchington Wood Green tunnel - Delta Junction and Birmingham Spur Delta Junction - WCML Tie-In sections.\r\n\u201cThis is a huge day for the HS2 project and for the country,\u201d says Sir David Higgins, Chairman of HS2 Ltd. \u201cThese contracts will support 16,000 jobs here in Britain and will create opportunities for thousands of SMEs.\u201d\r\nPreparatory works on the 220km Phase 1 have already started, allowing the main construction works to begin in 2018-19 after detailed design has been completed.\r\nInvitations to tender for the four Phase 1 stations at London Euston, Old Oak Common in West London, Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street have issued to shortlisted bidders along with the invitation to participate in dialogue for the Euston master development partner. Phase 1 is scheduled to open 2026.\r\nA parliamentary bill will also be published on July 17 for the 82km Phase 2a of HS2 from Lichfield to Crewe which is planned to open in 2027. Grayling will also confirm the final route for Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester and from Birmingham to the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds. Phase 2b should be completed in 2033. The total cost of HS2 is \u00a355.7bn.