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Crossrail concerns flagged over 'time and cost pressures'

Crossrail’s delivery is facing increasing time and cost pressures as the programme enters its final stages, according to the government’s infrastructure oversight body.

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority’s annual report said the project faced “increasing challenges” including “time and schedule pressure”. 

It said the Department for Transport had increased its governance over the project and was monitoring progress closely, with Crossrail’s project representative committed to alerting the government if there was any deviation to the schedule.

The IPA report, which assessed the state of major public projects as of September 2017, said Crossrail was 90 per cent complete but schedule pressures were “likely to have a knock-on impact” on costs for the £14.8bn project.

The annual IPA reports rate schemes on ‘delivery confidence’, with the status of each project being measured against a traffic light system.

Crossrail had its rating reduced from amber/green to amber in the latest report to reflect the concerns over delivery.

An amber/green rating reflects a project on which successful delivery seems probable but will need constant attention to ensure.

Amber is given to a project where successful delivery appears feasible but significant issues exist.

According to the report, Crossrail has said the overall completion date will be maintained and its project representative is providing ongoing assurance to the DfT on the project schedule.

Earlier this year, The Times reported that Crossrail was facing a £500m funding black hole due to issues with the power supply and signals.

An IPA spokeswoman said: “Projects can be rated red for a variety of reasons, and often reflect the scale and complexity of large projects at early stages of delivery, or at a specific point in time should an identified challenge not be addressed.

“By undertaking these reviews and identifying potential issues effectively and quickly, project ratings are improved, and over half of this year’s 26 completed projects received a green or amber green delivery confidence assessment.”

A Crossrail spokesman: “Construction of the Elizabeth line is now in its final stages. Testing of new trains and infrastructure is under way and continues alongside the remaining fit-out of the stations.

“Later this year, the first completed infrastructure will be handed over to Transport for London, who will lead the trial operations phase.”

The annual IPA report provides a list of major infrastructure projects and monitors where they are in their development, as well as the likelihood that they will be delivered on time and budget.

The list featured 31 projects worth £196bn that came under the category of infrastructure and construction, including transport and energy schemes.

Projects can also be given a green rating, which indicates a project is likely to be delivered on time and budget, and a red rating, which indicates the delivery of a project appears to be unachievable.

Other projects in the list include HS2, which was given an amber/red rating due to the complexity of the scheme;the A303 Stonehenge Tunnel, which was awarded an amber rating; and the M20 lorry area scheme, which was given a red rating. 

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