The cost of Crossrail could rise again, project bosses have warned in an advisory notice.
Its leaders warned yesterday that they have identified risks that could see it exceed its budget once again if action is not taken.
The Crossrail statement said: “Significant work has been undertaken to develop the project’s detailed delivery schedule and we remain within the previously announced six-month window between October 2020 and March 2021 for the delivery of the central section.
“This is the most difficult and challenging phase of the Crossrail programme with significant integration and testing to complete. The project is making good progress against the plan and is firmly in control, but pressures remain.”
It added: “Crossrail’s latest forecast shows that the project’s cost could increase if all the identified risks and uncertainties were not mitigated”.
But the statement said bosses expected the project to be deliverable within its latest £17.6bn budget, which it was granted in December.
A TfL spokesperson said: “As part of prudent planning, Crossrail’s latest forecasts show that the project’s costs could increase if various pressures are not mitigated. At this stage no additional funding has been requested. Further work is under way by Crossrail Ltd to better understand its cost forecast and how to mitigate any risks.”
“Significant work has been done to develop the project’s detailed delivery schedule and Crossrail Ltd has set out that they are still on track to open in the window October 2020 to March 2021. However, due to the complexity of the project, there is still a high level of uncertainty in the Crossrail project programme.”
The risks were highlighted at yesterday’s TfL board meeting where the project’s leaders said they had introduced an incentive scheme as part of attempts to drive up contractor productivity.
Transport for London member and Crossrail non-executive director Anne McMeel said: “We have put in the incentive scheme to look at where we need collaboration with the contractors, and then put in something that will produce that collaboration quickly.”
Asked for further details of this, a spokesman for the project said it would not comment on the specific arrangements.
At the meeting, Ms McMeel added that assurance paperwork was slowing productivity on the project.
This was echoed by Crossrail chairman Tony Meggs who said “the complexity of the operation means that our productivity will never be outstanding. Because of limited contractor resources in the tier two and tier threes in particular means that productivity will never be fully addressed”.
London Assembly Transport Committee chair Florence Eshalomi said: “Revelations that the project is entering a ‘very high-risk phase’ are going to massively frustrate Londoners.
“Systemic issues have simply not been addressed and slippage after slippage is unacceptable. Why have the new governance procedures we were promised not solved the delivery pushbacks and cost escalations? We need concrete commitments to an opening date and the bill must stop spiralling.”
Completion of Bond Street station has been highlighted as a risk factor for the project.
By Ian Weinfass and Caroline Wadham
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