S2 | ‘Reset’ needed at Euston as station is £2.2bn overbudget and could worsen with construction pause

The National Audit Office (NAO) has called for a “reset” at High Speed 2’s (HS2’s) Euston terminus as the current plan is forecast to be £2.2bn overbudget and could worsen with the two year pause on construction.

The public spending watchdog’s new report into the decision making and expenditure on HS2’s Euston station explains that HS2 Ltd’s budget for the terminus was £2.6bn in 2019 prices, which was made part of the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) overall budget for Phase One of the project. However, the NAO has said “the budget for Euston station was fixed too early and too low for what was intended to be achieved”, and decisions made to try and bring the station construction within that budget have been unsuccessful.

The latest estimate has put the projected cost of the station at £4.8bn.

This month, the DfT announced that it will pause construction on HS2 Euston for two years and “rephase” its delivery while it looks again at how to achieve and affordable and deliverable design that provides value for money. Last week HS2 Ltd commenced the redundancy process at the station site.

“The impact of deferring spending on the HS2 programme in the short term will be additional costs and could lead to an overall increase in spend in the long term,” the NAO said in the report. “This is due to the costs of, for example, its supply chain stopping and re-starting work; contractual changes; and managing the site and project for longer.”

It added: “DfT and HS2 Ltd do not yet know what the impact of this pause will be on the overall schedule of the HS2 Euston station and when it will open.”

HS2 | ‘Reset’ needed at Euston as station is £2.2bn overbudget and could worsen with construction pause | New Civil Engineer

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