Gautrain expansion project to be completed in 2016

The Gautrain Station platforms at OR Tambo International Airport are to be expanded, enabling passengers to embark or disembark from a full four-car train set, an upgrade from the current two cars.

The Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Dr Ismail Vadi, said the upgrade project is subject to future operational consideration and implementation.

“With due processes finalised, global construction and management consultants, Turner & Townsend, have been appointed by Bombela Concession Company as project managers to manage this turnkey expansion project. The construction project is expected to take about 12 months and should be completed by mid-2016,” said Vadi.

Bombela said the expansion of the Gautrain Station platform at the OR Tambo International Station would allow the horizontal two-car system for the airport line to be increased to at least four rail cars. The airport platform extension works will inevitably increase system capacity and form part of a medium to long term plan to attract more users to the Gautrain system.

Noluthando Molao, Associate Director at Turner & Townsend, says construction will be carried out with pre-cast elements and a storage area for materials will be established close by to minimise activity on site. An interesting aspect of the project is that the tower crane to be used on site is one of the biggest in the country, which can lift 32 tons at a radius of 27.8m and can pick up a maximum load of 20.6 tons at a radius of 40m. Initially procured for the Medupi Power Station, the crane will be moved onto the OR Tambo construction site.

“One of the key challenges of the project is that the trains must be fully operational at all times to ensure there is no disruption to the Gautrain service. The construction is also being carried out at about 18m above ground level, and the access road directly beneath the construction site needs to remain operational as an airport entry point. Making construction even more challenging is that the crane can only operate from one side of the viaduct structure and safety will be a key priority.

“The proximity of the City Lodge parking facility right next to the construction site presents another challenge. Noise and dust will be minimised through the use of acoustic boards, most of the work will be completed off site, and construction will only be undertaken during specific times as agreed.

“Given the issue of cable theft, the safety and security management systems require that the highest security measures are in place at all times,” says Molao.

The project design and construction include extending the existing roof canopy, and horizontally increasing either side of the platform with the use of pre-cast concrete slabs as well as extending the platform length by a total of 55 metres. In addition, the concrete parapet wall will be extended and two fire escape towers constructed.

Molao says: “Not surprisingly, the contractor tender process had a technical requirement for a nine grading, which is the highest level according to the Construction Industry Development Board. A BEE Level 3 minimum requirement was also stipulated and the successful contractor, Stefanutti Stocks, will have to achieve 80% of the scorecard for technical criteria.”

Turner & Townsend has considerable experience in rail and other major transport programmes, having worked on a number of projects with Intersite Asset Investments, a subsidiary of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).

The OR Tambo Station platform expansion is one of a series of projects that Turner & Townsend has recently been involved in with Bombela. These include the extension of Gautrain parkades, parking garages and additional parking at Midrand and Rhodesfield Gautrain Stations.

At King Shaka International Airport in KwaZulu-Natal, Turner & Townsend were involved as bid managers as well as programme managers and project managers for the pre and post contract works for this modern greenfield development. The firm also provided procurement advice and training to the building and civil contractor.

Turner & Townsend has a network of 90 offices around the world and a track record in major projects, particularly airport facilities. The firm helped formulate and implement the agreement for the build of British Airways Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport – the biggest free-standing structure in the UK, and played an integral role in bringing the project in on time and within budget.

Other projects include providing master planning, procurement strategy and risk management services for the development of the new three-runway system at Hong Kong International Airport and delivering cost estimating services, scheduling and risk management for the expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Source: SA

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