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Piling work starts on London’s Crossrail

Piling work has started at Canary Wharf on London’s £15.9bn Crossrail project. Prime minister Gordon Brown and London mayor Boris Johnson attended a ceremony to mark the launch of the scheme.

The new line, designed to link Maidenhead and Heathrow, both west of London, with Kent and Essex in the east, is being constructed despite, what newspaper reports describe as “continued uncertainty over parts of the funding package”.

So far all of the major contracts on the scheme have gone to US firms, or US-led consortia, with Bechtel appointed project partner, and Transcend, a joint venture between Aecom, CH2M Hill and Nichols Group, being awarded the programme partner job.

The 118km line is scheduled for completion in 2017. Crossrail has appointed Network Rail’s Andrew Mitchell as programme director. Currently in charge of the Thameslink programme, he will take over from Dr Graham Plant, interim programme director, later this year.