Construction on the R25-billion Gautrain rapid-rail link has, to date, cost just under R6-billion.
Speaking during a tour of the construction sites, project manager Jack van der Merwe said that R5,89-billion had been spent so far.
Gautrain was spending about R3-million an hour, on 37 work streams - one in Germany, one in London, and 35 in South Africa.
Although Van der Merwe estimated that the project was one to two weeks behind schedule, he was happy with the progress.
“We will know by year-end whether we need to accelerate construction,” he said.
At Rosebank, the Bombela consortium, which is building the project, was busy with shaft excavation for a tunnel running through to Sandton.
“We need to go down to 25 metres. We are now about 7 metres,” said Bombela project director Charles-Etienne Perrier.
The 25 m target was expected to be reached by year-end.
The next milestone in the construction process, would be the arrival of a R300-million tunnel boring machine (TBM) from Germany in October.
The 15 m high and 180 m long machine would be used to tunnel 3 km of earth in the Rosebank area.
Van der Merwe explained that besides the 3 km tunnelled by the TBM, the rest of the tunnelling would be drilled and blasted.
The area to be drilled by the TBM had a shallow water table and would involve drilling under water, he explained.
TBM boring would start in January 2008.
Meanwhile, road diversions in Braamfontein were scheduled for August when Smith road would be reopened and Wolmarans street close-off.
A utility bridge had recently been constructed and the site would soon be covered with a hard surface to reduce dust and mud.
At Sandton station construction of 25 diaphragm walls was reaching completion and drill rigs would soon be removed from site.
At Mushroom Park two horizontal tunnels have been excavated to 30 m and a hard surface on site to eliminate dust and mud has been completed.
Excavation of 300 m from the Marlboro portal tunnel entrance had been completed.
At Marlboro station cut-and-cover under the N3 highway was in progress with temporary on-and-off ramps completed.
Further, houses along Fitter road at Modderfontein had been demolished and rubble was being removed and utilities relocated.
Preparation for the viaduct abutments was under way.
The Gautrain project currently employed about 2 500 people and at its peak, was expected to employ some 6500 people. off