UK Government backing for Crossrail
UK Government backing for Crossrail Jun 2010
Patrick Reynolds, Freelance Reporter
The new cost-cutting government of the UK has signalled its support for London’s Crossrail project as construction accelerates and award of the first tunnelling packages draws near.

UK Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond (centre) on site with support

Crossrail received the positive message earlier this week (June 15, 2010) during the official visit by Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond to the cofferdam and excavation works underway at the Canary Wharf box station.
The Transport Secretary said there was no need to scrap such a major project that would boost the economy, but stressed the Government's emphasis on affordability and value for money. He added, "we must ensure that every pound we invest is well spent".
Crossrail calls for a raft of new stations in central London and some 41.5km of 6.2m i.d. TBM bored tunnels under the heart of the city. The first machine is to be launched late next year to help drive the running tunnels for the £15.9 billion (US$23.5 billion) scheme, which is due to open rail services in 2017.

Progress at the Canary Wharf station site

The new Government's message of support for the project comes after some weeks of general uncertainty in the country about where cuts will fall.
In the general election in early May, the need for cutting public expenditure costs was agreed by all political parties but there was little information on where the impact might be felt.
With a mix of public as well as private and debt finance to fund Crossrail, the Government is providing a grant of £5 billion (US$7.4 billion) that will cover almost a third of the project's cost. That cost allows also for contingencies and expected inflation, said the client, Crossrail Ltd.
Canary Wharf construction

Canary Wharf construction

Additional funding is provided by various parties including £350 million (US$519 million) from City of London, £230 million (US$341 million) from BAA, and £150 million (US$222 million) from Canary Wharf Group.
Work at the cofferdam for the new Canary Wharf station began just over a year ago and across the city site clearance is underway to prepare for construction of underground stations, such as at Tottenham Court Road.
At the Canary Wharf site, the new Transport Secretary said, "I came to visit the Crossrail project today to signal my intention to press ahead with the major improvements in our transport system that business and passengers need. We live in difficult economic times, but that does not mean that we should scrap big projects which would give the economy a vital boost in the future."

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