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Managers are unsure of the cost of a project that is over budget

Auckland’s City Rail Link is set to blow its $4.5 billion budget as officials do not know how much the country’s biggest infrastructure project will cost.

The 3.4km underground double-tunnel link in central Auckland connects downtown Britomart to Mt Eden via new stations near the Sky Tower and Karangahape Rd.

It is due to open in 2025 and when completed will double Auckland’s rail capacity, carrying up to 54,000 passengers per hour at its stations.

But the construction schedule could still be delayed and the cost to taxpayers will exceed its budget by $4.5 billion.

Transport Minister Michael Wood said it was still too early to know the final cost.

“We still have active negotiations going on with the Link Alliance. We need to let that play out before we get any clarification,” Wood said.

CRL chief executive Dr Sean Sweeney said it was ‘a large number’ and he didn’t want to share it with the public, saying naming a price would jeopardize negotiations . He hopes to be able to provide a definitive number by the end of the year.

The project suffered from inflation issues, supply chain problems and difficulties in finding staff.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was there on Wednesday and said she was excited for the future.

“For Auckland residents they see the activity above ground, compared to the activity underground it’s just huge so I can’t wait for them to see it for themselves,” Ardern said.

But that day is still a long way off because everyone is working to get the project delivered.