Sector - Transport & Infrastructure

Report urges Crossrail to complete construction

A new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has urged Crossrail Ltd to complete construction and avoid further costs.

The new report recommends that Crossrail Ltd avoid further delays and spending and ensure they complete construction ahead of the first Elizabeth Line services deadline between October of next year and March the year after. In February 2019, the NAO published a memorandum on Crossrail for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which examined the project’s overall progress, costs and potential for future delays which determined there was no definite deadline for when services could be operational.

Delays to the project have led to £2.8bn of additional financing for the programme, including around £2 billion of loans from the government to the Greater London Authority and Transport for London. The report identifies issues which led to delays in the delivery of Crossrail such as the compressed schedule, contractual model, lack of pressure on costs, and absence of an achievable plan.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO said: “Throughout delivery, and even as pressures mounted, Crossrail Ltd clung to the unrealistic view that it could complete the programme to the original timetable, which has had damaging consequences.”

“DfT and TfL must support the new Crossrail Ltd executive team to get the railway built without unrealistic cost or time expectations. While we cannot make an overall assessment of value for money until Crossrail is complete, there have been a number of choices made in the course of this project that have clearly damaged public value.”

Crossrail has received £2.05billion in loans from the government with the overall programme expected to cost £17billion compared to the £14.8billion originally agreed in 2010. The NAO also blames poor decisions, such as unnecessary testing, for driving up the cost of the programme.

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