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Construction workers pour concrete on the roof of the new underground station in Stuttgart at the end of December

Photo: Bernd Weißbrod / dpa

The costs for the controversial Stuttgart 21 station project will again increase by almost two billion euros to around eleven billion euros. This is reported by the Reuters news agency and the German Press Agency, citing informed circles. This was the result of a new cost estimate.

In the past, there had been repeated cost increases. Only recently, a secret paper by Deutsche Bahn had spoken of additional costs of 614 million euros, which would lead to new total costs of almost 10 billion.

According to the new figures, the price for the mammoth project has more than doubled compared to the calculation at the start of construction in 2010. An additional buffer of 500 million euros is planned, bringing the financing framework to just under 11.5 billion euros, Reuters quoted people familiar with the figures as saying.

A Deutsche Bahn spokesman did not want to comment on the reports. At a recent meeting of the steering committee of Stuttgart 21, however, the project partners emphasized that they expected further cost increases.

"The indications that we will not be able to keep to the budget have intensified to such an extent that we now urgently need to discuss it internally," said Berthold Huber, Deutsche Bahn's Chief Infrastructure Officer, last Friday. Considerable cost increases were recorded in all trades. The cost development of the project is to be discussed by the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bahn on 18 December.

Baden-Württemberg's Transport Minister Winfried Hermann said that there had been cost increases of 100 to 200 percent in individual tenders. "We are definitely tearing up the previous plans," said the Green politician.

As a reason for the cost increase, the management cites the general increase in construction costs, especially in the past two years, said an insider. Here, an increase of around 30 percent was recorded. In court, the project partners are already arguing about who has to pay the additional costs of S 21.

At its core, Stuttgart 21 envisages the relocation of Stuttgart's terminus underground and a connection to high-speed lines through tunnels. Stuttgart Airport will also be connected in this way.

Deutsche Bahn is sticking to its opening by the end of 2025

At the site of the former station, the areas in the Stuttgart basin are to be used for apartments, among other things. The project was already hotly disputed during the planning phase. Critics objected that the costs would be disproportionate to the benefits for transport. After construction began, demonstrators and police clashed again and again, resulting in many injuries. The protests, some of which involved well over 50,000 people, ultimately led to a referendum in 2011 throughout Baden-Württemberg. At the time, about 60 percent were in favor of continuing construction.

The opening date also had to be corrected repeatedly. Shortly after construction began, there was still talk of 2019. In 2018, the starting point was then named until December 2025. A railway spokesman now emphasized that this time frame is still being adhered to.