High Speed 2 has collided with more potential conflicts of interest after the merger of two engineers working on the £56bn rail line.
Jacobs’ acquisition of fellow American engineer CH2M means the enlarged company is working on both sides of the project, as contractor and project manager respectively — a practice frowned on in the industry.
It is the latest problem for HS2, after £1.8m of unauthorised redundancy payments and concerns about conflicts of interest for CH2M, which led to the engineer handing back a £170m contract in March.
CH2M still has a £350m, 10-year-plus deal to deliver the London-to-Birmingham leg of HS2.
Jacobs is part of a joint venture that in July was awarded a £965m contract to dig tunnels under the Chilterns and a viaduct. The company is also bidding for contracts to design stations, two in Birmingham and Old Oak Common, west London.