2013-03-10

"Revealed: HS2's £33bn budget already derailed before a track is laid"


Link to Independent on Sunday

"High Speed Two (HS2), the controversial rail link that will carve through hundreds of miles of countryside from London to Manchester and Leeds, is in crisis over its £33bn budget four years before construction even starts.

"Ahead of a judicial review decision expected this Friday – which could result in the whole project being re-examined – an IoS investigation can reveal that HS2 is plagued by flawed IT systems, rising construction costs and huge design rethinks.

"The Government's flagship transport project has already cost more than £250m, new figures have revealed. The cost is expected to soar beyond its existing budget, forcing a Department for Transport-backed team in charge of preparatory work – HS2 Ltd and its private sector partner, London Olympics programme manager CH2M Hill – to set up a committee to slash costs, as they scramble to keep the project under control.

"Yesterday, the HS2 chief executive, Alison Munro, conceded:
"We are seeking to design HS2 within the published estimates, but we know that construction here is more expensive than in other countries. We have set up an Efficiency Challenge group that is working with Infrastructure UK to explore ways of reducing the cost of delivering a high-speed rail network that will provide an engine for growth."

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