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Crossrail to miss summer 2021 opening


07 August 2020

London’s east-west Crossrail project needs even more money to complete and will not open next summer as planned.  

The central tunnel section of Crossrail (or the Elizabeth Line) between Paddington and Abbey Wood was originally due to open in December 2018. The date has been repeatedly been put back. In January this year Crossrail Ltd said it should open in summer 2021. But the Crossrail board now says this will not be achieved, citing the effect that Covid-19 has had on works.  

An project update was reported to TfL’s board last week by Andy Lord, managing director of London Underground and TfL engineering, and Howard Smith, chief operating officer for the Elizabeth Line.  

“The schedule is subject to further development and includes considering mitigations as part of the ongoing work on the recovery plan,” said Lord and Smith. “A more comprehensive update is expected from Crossrail Ltd in due course.”

Crossrail’s estimated cost was   £14.8bn but had jumped to £17.6bn by December 2018. 

Crossrail Ltd reported last November that an extra £400m-£650m would be needed to complete the project (LTT 22 Nov 19). Lord and Smith have now confirmed that even this will not be enough.

“The latest projections suggest that the cost to complete the Crossrail project (including risk contingency) is expected to be higher than the potential increase, previously announced on 8 November 2019, of between £400m and £650m above the financing package. 

“The extent of any cost increases is being ascertained alongside potential mitigations, before being validated and confirmed in due course.” 

TfL and DfT are in talks about how the additional cost will be met.

Last month the DfT announced that Network Rail required an additional £140m for its Crossrail works.

Works on Bond Street station are far behind schedule. Crossrail Ltd terminated its contract with a Costain Skanska joint venture for the station in June. CRL will oversee the completion of the remaining works. 

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