Construction work on the R1.3-billion, 3.5 km new dual Bridge City rail link (BCRL), north of Durban, was on schedule, and should be completed by the end of March 2013, said Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) group CEO Lucky Montana on Thursday.
The new passenger link would connect the mixed-land use Bridge City development, which encompasses the communities of Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK), with existing rail infrastructure, through an underground station at the new development.
The rail link would tie in with the existing multi-use rail line at Duffs Road station. New train turnaround facilities will also be constructed at Dalbridge, south of Durban, to ensure operational integration with the north-south rail corridor, said Montana.
The north-south corridor was also earmarked for infrastructure modernisation, in preparation of the anticipated new rolling stock to be deployed in the passenger rail system by 2015, he added.
The new Bridge City station would also include a bus and taxi interchange.
The new rail link is the largest rail infrastructure development project in the Durban area, said Montana. The project was largely funded by Prasa, with some contributions by the City of Ethekwini and private developers.
Design of the BCRL was completed in July 2010, with construction kicking off in July 2011. Completion is expected at the end of March next year.
The contract to design the infrastructure was awarded to a consortium led by Crowie Projects as lead project implementing agent. The consortium partners include LDM Quantity Surveyors, Focus Project Managers and Arcus Gibb Consulting Engineers.
Construction and civil works were awarded to Grinaker-LTA as the lead contractor, with Tshireletso Business Engineering responsible for all electrical works, Actom for signalling and SIMS Perway for the rail infrastructure.
The number of direct and indirect employment opportunities on the project will reach 2 000, using local contractors and labour, noted Montana.
The BCRL project includes the construction of three viaducts, three aqueducts and one road crossing. One viaduct is being constructed in situ and the remaining two will be manufactured in a precast yard about 2 km off site.
The entire project would require about 8 000 m3 of in situ concrete and 1 000 t of steel for railway track construction and concrete reinforcing, says Montana.
Earthworks would include removing about 250 000 m3 of redundant soil, which includes sandstone, clay and shale, as well as importing about 300 000 m3 of the required grade of soil for filling and formation.
Prasa would oversee an environmental rehabilitation process to ensure the integration of the railway infrastructure with the surroundings, said Montana.
He said the agency had also made provision in the project for ten students from the INK area to further their studies in the engineering field. All these students have been placed at universities, technical colleges and universities of technology, and will be assigned to different specialist areas in the rail construction environment upon completion of their studies.