Crossrail Delay Caused By "Unrealistic" Opening Date, Watchdog Says

3 May 2019, 09:51

Poor management's being partly blamed for the delayed Crossrail project's spiralling budget.
Poor management's being partly blamed for the delayed Crossrail project's spiralling budget. Picture: PA

Crossrail was driven over its budget and schedule because its management team was too focused on a 2018 opening date, a report from the public spending watchdog said.

A report by the National Audit Office raised several factors which contributed to the spiralling budget of the delayed scheme to build a new east-west railway in London.

The NAO slammed Crossrail saying management did not take opportunities to change approach nor produce a sufficiently detailed delivery plan to track its progress.

One problem highlighted was a focus on achieving the planned opening date of December 2018.

However, bosses are still unable to commit to an official opening date after admitting they have underestimated the level of work still needing to be done.

Crossrail last month announced they would introduce services on the central section of the Elizabeth line between October 2020 and March 2021.

The public spending watchdog also hit out at a lack of pressure on the 6,000 contractors who are working on the site to work efficiently.

The report has revealed that Crossrail currently has 143 vacant positions including "project delivery teams to work with main contractors to deliver the programme.”

Mark Wild, the chief executive of Crossrail, said it would review the NAO recommendations carefully. He said the new leadership team had “undertaken a detailed audit of the outstanding works and produced a robust and realistic plan to complete the Elizabeth line and bring the railway into passenger service at the earliest possible date”.

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