Crossrail: �1.25bn tunnel projects awarded

Tens of thousands of jobs promised in ‘milestone’ for the East-West rail route

TUNNELLING contracts worth over �1bn to create the east-west Crossrail service have been awarded, it is revealed.

The news is hailed as the UK’s most significant tunnel contracts since Jubilee Line Extension and Channel Tunnel Rail Link, creating tens of thousands of jobs.

The contracts, worth in the region of �1.25bn, will deliver the construction of 18km of twin-bore tunnels underneath central London with work starting in late 2011 and the first tunnel boring machine starting out on its journey the following spring. Tunnelling teams will work around the clock to complete Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

In all nearly thirty major contracts that will be awarded by Crossrail over the next eighteen months, including the new Thames Tunnel between North Woolwich and Plumstead.

The Western and Eastern running tunnels will have portals at Pudding Mill Lane, Stratford and Royal Victoria Dock. There is also to be a dedicated station in Custom House.

Rob Holden, Crossrail Chief Executive said Crossrail has now reached a very significant milestone.

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He added that because of highly competitive bids over �1bn in savings to Crossrail’s construction costs have been identified.

Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said: “These tunnels - stretching 13 miles under the city – will help boost rail capacity across London by 10 per cent, relieving overcrowding on other hard-pressed services.

The project has slipped another year with the first services under central London not expected until the end of 2018.

Such is the scale of Crossrail that up to 14,000 people will be employed at the peak of construction of the railway between 2013 and 2015. A skill training academy is to be built and Crossrail will work with Jobcentre Plus and other job agencies.