The National Audit Office (NAO) is set to investigate Crossrail after it was revealed that London’s high profile transport project will be delayed by almost a year, amid rising costs.
“Our investigation will examine the causes of the cost increases and schedule delays, the terms of the additional funding, and the governance and oversight of the programme,” the NAO said today.
The Elizabeth Line was meant to open next month, but over summer Transport for London (TfL) admitted the £15.4bn project would not be complete until autumn 2019 owing to signalling testing delays.
The government then fed another £350m into the programme, which is meant to run through central London between Abbey Wood in east London and Heathrow and Reading in the west.
The NAO’s investigation, scheduled for early 2019, will also examine the steps now being taken by Crossrail, TfL and the Department for Transport to minimise the impact of the higher costs and delay.
Fallout from the project has stung London mayor Sadiq Khan as well as TfL itself.
Earlier this week Khan raised “serious concerns” about the “transparency and effectiveness of Crossrail’s governance” with the NAO.
In a letter seen by City A.M., the mayor said that despite TfL and DfT both increasing their representation on Crossrail boards, the arrangements were not fit for purpose.
“From July, there are now three TfL and two DfT non-executive directors on the Crossrail Ltd board,” he wrote.
“However, since then – and with the latest revelations about the project's cost and schedule – I continue to have significant concerns over transparency on the project and the effectiveness of Crossrail's governance, strategic risk management, commercial arrangements and assurance regime.”