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‘Engineering challenges’ push up Crossrail cost

Crossrail train

“Engineering and technical challenges” have forced Crossrail bosses to revise the project’s final cost.

In its annual update to Parliament, the Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed that the delivery cost of Crossrail will be £15.4bn, as previously revealed in New Civil Engineer.

Some £600M above the project’s target cost set out in 2010, the additional funds are to be made available to cover engineering challenges “up until the final completion of the project”.

“As with all projects of this nature, there have been a number of engineering and technical challenges that have already been surmounted in order to build the first new railway for a generation, and there will continue to be challenges right up until the final completion of the project,” the statement read.

The additional funding will be made available by Transport for London (TfL), Network Rail and the DfT.

The statement added: “The additional funding is being provided to both Crossrail Limited and Network Rail. £300M is being made available to Crossrail Limited, with the Department for Transport and TfL contributing £150M each.

“Around £290M is being provided for completion of the programme of works on the national rail network, and is being funded by the Department for Transport and Network Rail. It remains the case that over 60% of the project’s funding has been provided by Londoners and London businesses.”

A spokesperson for Crossrail added: “The construction of the Elizabeth line is one of the most complex and challenging infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK. Construction is now in its final stages with a huge effort underway to complete and commission the new railway.

“A number of factors have meant that additional investment is needed by both Crossrail Limited and Network Rail during this final stage of the programme covering both the new build central section and upgrades to the existing railway. These cost increases are disappointing but additional funding is critical to the delivery of this vital project.

Crossrail Ltd developed a “revised delivery schedule” to save the December 2018 opening date of the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood from being pushed back after suffering design flaws and testing problems, it was announced earlier this year.

In 2010, the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review confirmed savings of over £1bn in projected costs due chiefly to a revision of the tunnelling strategy.

This meant that delivering Crossrail would cost £14.8bn, down from the original target price of £15.9bn.

However, a number of unacounted ”challenges” have sent the final cost price closer to the original estimate.

Earlier this year, Transport for London (TfL) admitted that there were “increasing cost and schedule pressures” on the Crossrail construction programme, claiming costs were 20% higher than had been forecast, putting construction costs £173M higher than expected.

The increase in construction costs is largely due to delays to Whitechapel and Woolwich stations, extra personnel costs and scope and design changes to system-wide main works.

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