Crossrail receives royal assent


Crossrail receives royal assent
Work on the Crossrail project moved on step closer last night when the parliamentary bill for the project received its royal endorsement.

Crossrail - the largest addition to the transport network in London and the south-east for more than 50 years – finally became a viable project last October when prime minister Gordon brown announced a £16 billion funding package.

Parliamentary approval of the Crossrail Act means that the project is on track to be operational for passengers in 2017.

It is thought the scheme will provide a £20 billion boost to the wider UK economy.

"This landmark project is of major significance to both London and the whole country. It will generate jobs and economic growth, help re-vitalise some of our most deprived areas and deliver major improvements for the travelling public," said transport secretary Ruth Kelly.

The line will run from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west of London through tunnels under central London - with new stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Isle of Dogs (Canary Wharf) - and then out to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

"Londoners living in the east will have far greater access to jobs in the centre of London and we expect to see the areas where they are living flourish from private sector investment in housing and development," added mayor Boris Johnson.

"All this and Crossrail even pays for itself. That is what I call a cracking deal for the capital."

The Crossrail Act grants powers to acquire land and for Crossrail to be built and maintained.

Enabling works will take place next year, with main construction works set to begin in 2010.

Up to 14,000 people will be employed in the construction of the new line, which has been dogged by years of delay.

"Royal assent is the most significant milestone in the history of Crossrail," concluded Douglas Oakervee, executive chairman of Cross London Rail Links.

"After years of planning and discussion, we are ready to move into the delivery phase of a project that will benefit London, the south-east region and the UK as a whole."

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