The cost of the Barking Riverside extension of the London Overground has risen, and the opening date pushed back by up to a year.
Originally estimated to cost around £263 million, later raised to £294 million, the costs have now risen to £327 million, while the opening date has been pushed back from late 2021 to autumn of 2022.
TfL says that the rise in costs and the delay was mainly driven by the impact of the coronavirus shutdown and reopening mitigations works, mainly relating to prolongation associated with securing rescheduled Network Rail possessions and coronavirus control measures.
There have however been problems on the site with the discovery of an uncharted sewer system that had to be diverted and affected the placement of viaduct piers. These ate into the contingency for the project, even before the coronavirus pause.
Works are still progressing though.
The contractors have completed the Thames Water sludge main diversion at Pier 14, which enabled the piling works to be completed in this area. In October, they completed all the piling activities, 1,195 piles, which was a key milestone for the project.
The new station structure can be seen from street level, with all the steelwork and external blockwork complete. They continue to install the cladding and glazing and have now completed the internal blockwork to create areas for retail units, cycle storage and operation equipment.
A major Network Rail track possession that was due to take place in Easter is now taking place over Christmas so that they can carry out signalling works. That delay also pushes back the other Network Rail related projects by six months.
There has also been also a delay of around three months in migrating signalling control from Upminster to Romford.
The collective delays are also causing problems with the associated Barking Riverside housing development, as its planning permission is dependent on the railway extension opening.
The planning permission limits the housing development to 4,000 occupied homes until the railway opens, when the remaining 6,800 homes can be built and sold.
The delayed opening is not expected to have any impact on TfL finances, and the higher costs while bad for TfL are modest in the scope of its annual budget. The delay could, however, have an impact on GLA finances, as the Barking Riverside housing development is 49% owned by the GLA — with 51% owned by L&Q. The site has planning permission to deliver 10,800 homes when completed.
When it opens, a four-carriage London Overground service running at 15-minute intervals is planned from the Barking Riverside station, with provision for an additional station, provisionally known as Castle Green to be built later when another housing development for 11,000 homes opens to the north of Barking Riverside.