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Coronavirus: Sadiq Khan suggests further delays to Crossrail are ‘inevitable’

PUBLISHED: 12:59 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:59 19 March 2020

Sadiq Khan has warned that it is 'inevitable' the coronavirus will delay Crossrail further. Picture: Mike Brooke

Sadiq Khan has warned that it is 'inevitable' the coronavirus will delay Crossrail further. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

The Mayor of London has suggested the Crossrail project could be further delayed because of coronavirus.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Picture: Stefan Rousseau / PAMayor of London Sadiq Khan. Picture: Stefan Rousseau / PA

Sadiq Khan said it is “inevitable” that the troubled project - already behind schedule and over budget - will be affected by the outbreak.

The mayor was asked by Caroline Pigeon, deputy chairwoman of the London Assembly’s transport committee, if the virus could close down some construction sites and push the scheme’s start date back even further.

Mr Khan replied: “If I’m saying only essential workers should go to work, if I’m saying the best way to reduce the spread of the virus is to stay at home unless you have to work, that is an impact.

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“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.”

He added Crossrail Ltd chief executive Mark Wild told him on Monday, March 16, that the project was still running to the latest schedule, which involved it opening in summer 2021.

But the mayor acknowledged that “things have changed” since then.

The railway - which will run between Berkshire and Essex via central London - was due to open in December 2018, and its budget was set at £16billion in 2007.

But it has been hit by a series of delays and cost increases, meaning it is at least two-and-a-half years behind schedule and has an estimated bill of £18bn.

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