The Department for Transport (DfT) could take over the delivery of Crossrail if costs continue to escalate, it has emerged.
A clause in the 2008 Crossrail sponsor agreement states that the department has the power to take over the running of the project under certain circumstances, including in the case of cost increases.
In August, the project’s bosses announced that it was to delay the opening of the central section of the line until the end of 2019, up to a year after the planned opening date of December this year.
It also previously announced a cost increase of £600M, taking the total cost of the project to £15.4bn, citing “engineering challenges” as the reason for the overrun.
It is unclear whether the DfT plans to use the powers, although a spokesperson for project promotor Transport for London (TfL) confirmed that it was working closely with the government to come to a resolution.
A TfL spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring the Elizabeth line is completed as quickly as possible and we are working closely with Crossrail Ltd and government on delivering this.
“Crossrail Ltd is working to establish what the additional impact on funding from the revised delivery schedule will be and discussions continue with Government on how to deliver any financing that may be required.”
When the cost overrun was announced, the DfT said the additional funding would be made available by TfL, Network Rail and the DfT.
It said it would contribute £150M to the project, with TfL stumping up another £150M. Around £290M would then be made available for the completion of the works on the surface network by both the DfT and Network Rail.
The DfT said it would not comment on its plans.
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