Tuesday 24 March 2020 12:40 pm

Crossrail construction suspended over coronavirus lockdown

Construction on Crossrail and all Transport for London (TfL) projects has been stopped due to the coronavirus lockdown.

TfL commissioner Mike Brown MVO made the call today, after Boris Johnson effectively placed the country in lockdown last night.

Read more: Sadiq Khan: More Crossrail delays from coronavirus are ‘inevitable’

The halt to work on Crossrail means the new £18.25bn train line will almost certainly not be finished by its target date of summer 2021.

In a statement, Wild said: “The government and the mayor have given clear instructions to stay safe and to stop travelling in all cases other than critical workers making absolutely essential journeys.

“In line with this, TfL and Crossrail will be bringing all project sites to a temporary Safe Stop unless they need to continue for operational safety reasons.

“This means that work on all such projects will be temporarily suspended as soon as it is safe to do so. Essential maintenance of the transport network will of course continue.”

Just last week London mayor Sadiq Khan said he thought it was “inevitable” that Crossrail would face more delays because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The original opening date for the central part of Crossrail – which will connect Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east – was supposed to be December 2018.

The project has also gone over budget by more than £3bn.

When asked at a London Assembly meeting last week if the coronavirus crisis would delay Crossrail further, Khan said: “If I’m saying only essential workers should go to work, if I’m saying the best way to reduce coronavirus is to stay at home – that has an impact.

Read more: Coronavirus: Prime Minister announces unprecedented lockdown across UK as government battles Covid-19

“The Crossrail team will do what they can to work remotely where they can, but some of the things you need to be physically there to do.

“So I think it’s inevitable, but that’s without speaking to the chief executive to see what can be done.”

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