Fears emerge that �16 billion Crossrail project will miss 2017 completion target

DOUBTS have emerged whether the �16 billion Crossrail project will be finished on time.

The new Underground line running through London had been expected to open in 2017, but reports are now suggesting the completion date could be put back by at least a year.

Millions of pounds have already been saved by redesigning proposals for Canary Wharf and Whitechapel stations, but further cutbacks to the budget may be necessary.

The picture will become clearer after the Government’s Spending Review is released on October 20, but in the meantime Crossrail bosses have to wait and see what budget they will have to operate under.

“We have no confirmation at this stage, we need to wait for the Review,” said a Crossrail spokeswoman. “Currently there is a lot of speculation leading up to the Review.”

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond is believed to have been negotiating with the Treasury this week in a bid to prevent cuts to Crossrail, arguing investment in transport infrastructure will pay off in the long term.

The issue is also politically sensitive for London Mayor Boris Johnson, who will need to argue for London’s interests possibly against the wishes of his party colleagues in Westminster.

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More than 2,500 people are now employed on the Crossrail project, a figure which will rise to 14,000 between 2013 and 2015.

Crossrail will run 118km in total, through new twin-bore 21 km tunnels, increasing London’s transport capacity by 10 per cent.

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