Transport for London is suspending what is left to be done on the already long-delayed Crossrail project until the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
While the government has said it is acceptable for construction to continue, if sites can observe Public Health England social distancing and hygiene advice, mayor of London Sadiq Khan has a different view. “I’ve expressed my concerns to the prime minister directly…. In my view, the only construction workers that should be working are those that we need for safety.
Announcing full site closures, Mike Brown, London’s transport commissioner, said: “The government and the mayor have given clear instructions to stay safe and to stop travelling in all cases other than critical workers making absolutely essential journeys.
“In line with this, TfL and Crossrail will be bringing all project sites to a temporary Safe Stop unless they need to continue for operational safety reasons. This means that work on all such projects will be temporarily suspended as soon as it is safe to do so. Essential maintenance of the transport network will of course continue.”
He added: “This is being done to ensure the safety of our construction and project teams and also to further reduce the number of people travelling on the public transport network. It is vital that the transport network is only used by critical workers. As we work through these issues with our supply chain, consideration will be given to the impact on workers, particularly those who are on low incomes.”
Mark Wild, chief executive of Crossrail Ltd, said: “Essential and business critical work continues across the Crossrail programme but our priority is to keep our people safe and limit movement. Last week we asked everyone who could work from home to do so and put in place measures to limit movement across the programme. As a further measure we have taken the decision with our Tier 1 contractors to temporarily stop station activity and close our sites until further notice.
“While we are doing everything we safely can to keep the Crossrail programme on track, Covid-19 will have an impact – it’s too early to tell what that impact will be. We are doing everything we can to support our principal contractors during this difficult and challenging time. Our arrangements remain under constant review and we are liaising closely with our Tier 1 contractors and their supply chains to ensure that the Crossrail programme continues to be delivered safely.”