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Project scope and spec challenged

Crossrail designers are re-examining the scope and specification of virtually every aspect of the £15.9bn Crossrail project in a bid to ensure that unnecessary or unwanted elements are designed out before construction begins in earnest later this year.

Programme director Andy Mitchell said that despite establishing the so-called Initial Control Baseline to fix the project design scope, value managemen (VM) with the aim of challenging some of the major assumptions in the project scope was on-going.

“Our VM hopper has some 600 items in it, some bigger that others and progressively over the next six months we will be bringing these to a conclusion,” said Mitchell.

“For example [we are looking at] the size and scale of some of ticket halls and underground stations − do they really need to be that big,” he said, emphasising that this was an exercise in asking the questions of Crossrail’s sponsors at the Department for Transport and Transport for London rather than cutting capacity.

“The specification says that we have to design stations for 12 car trains whereas the business case and the intention is to run 10 car trains for the next 50 years,” he added. “[So we are asking the sponsors] do you really want to build a 12-car underground station for a service that you don’t intend to run for 50 years?”

Affordability

He said political support for Crossrail hinged on it remaining affordable and value for public money and that it was vital that the final specification still achieved these goals.

“I have been very keen to ensure that our sponsors truly understand the cost of the requirements,” he said. “To ask: ‘had you known that what you wanted would cost £10M would you have still wanted it? Now you do know, do you still want it?’”

Another example is at Liverpool Street Station where a value management exercise is exploring alternatives to the proposed underground pedestrian connection to the main line station.

Mitchell said that although the link is enshrined in the Crossrail Act, £60M to £70M could be saved by reworking the designs.

Pedestrian flow modelling by Crossrail engineers had suggested that a link from the eastern end of the Liverpool Street Crossrail station directly into the London Underground (LU) and National Rail station was unnecessary.

“We are working with Crossrail to ensure the money is used effectively. A number of ideas are being looked at.”

City of London director Irene Dick

However, following meetings with Crossrail, the City of London Corporation has rejected this proposal but is working with Crossrail to find alternative ways to save money at Liverpool Street. The Corporation has contributed £200M to the scheme directly, with a further £150M being given by local businesses.

“We are working with Crossrail to ensure the money is used effectively. A number of ideas are being looked at,” said City of London director Irene Dick.

Creating the proposed connection between the Crossrail and underground station will “cost an awful lot of money,” according to Mitchell. Construction will be complex as an electrical substation and London Underground equipment room encroach on the link route.

“We need to see if there is a way of achieving connectivity. [This] might mean more subterranean land take”, said Mitchell.

The land designated for the cross-London rail link has been fixed in the Crossrail Act. Building on land outside that area will require landowner consent.

Talks are ongoing between Crossrail, the City of London and British Land, which owns land around the station, to find an alternative route.

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