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Almost on budget. . .

'Are we on time and budget?

We say yes, generally, ' says Dyke. 'We will be within a few percentage points of our original budget.' On a project the size of CTRL section 2, a few percentage points add up to quite a lot of money, and Dyke is well aware that costs are likely to rise by between £200M and £600M.

'The probability of us hitting £3.3bn [the target cost] is probably only 20%, ' he admits. 'The probability of us being £200M over is perhaps 50%. You can go up through the range and there is a (small) chance we might be £600M over.' The major factors threatening the budget are the recent shortage of rail industry staff and massive, unexpected inflation in the south east (see News).

That said, Dyke maintains that achieving the budget is very much on the whole project's mind. Contractors and project managers 'will take pain if we go over the budget so everyone is fighting very hard to keep it'.

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