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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Gautrain Rapid Rail Link in Johannesburg, South Africa by Bentley Architect

June 16th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Carol Minton

From the day it was publicly announced in February 2000, the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link has been described in superlatives: “one of the biggest rail project under construction in the world,” “the largest infrastructure project in Africa,” and “the biggest public-private partnership South Africa has yet seen.” Bombela Concession Company, a consortium of private companies in partnership with the Gauteng Provincial Government, is developing this project and has committed to measurable socio-economic development obligations aimed at stimulating economic growth, development, and job creation.

Rhodesfield exterior (Image Courtesy Gautrain)

  • Project: Gautrain Rapid Rail Link
  • Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Organization: Gautrain
  • Photographer: Gautrain
  • Software used: Bentley ProjectWise

Centurion Station Architecture (Image Courtesy Gautrain)

The 80-kilometer rapid rail line will initially connect 10 stations along two links. The first link, between Sandton in northern Johannesburg and OR Tambo International Airport, is scheduled for completion by June 2010. The second link, due to be complete nine months later, connects Tshwane (Pretoria) and Johannesburg.

Johannesburg station excavation (Image Courtesy Gautrain)

An integrated transportation solution that will provide safe, secure, reliable, and affordable alternative to driving, Gautrain will travel at speeds of more than 160 kilometers per hour. The system will eventually be capable of carrying more than 60,000 passengers per hour, aiming to divert 20 percent of car users off parallel highways and onto the rapid rail line.

Tunnel excavation (Image Courtesy Gautrain)

Through its partnership with experienced international companies, the government has overcome obstacles to funding, financing, tendering, and construction. Members of the consortium include Montreal-based train manufacturer Bombardier Inc., French civil contractor Bouygues Travaux Publics, the Paris Transport Authority, South African civil contractor Murray & Roberts, and the Strategic Partners Group comprised of Black Empowerment Entities.

The concession contract is a 20-year deal, allowing five years for design and construction and 15 years for operation before transferring operations to the government. With so many stakeholders involved, project management and administration called for secure document management and control. According to Johan Venter, Gautrain manager responsible for project and administration management, a customized implementation of Bentley’s ProjectWise is used for the submission and issuing of documents and designs for review purposes, which enables the public-private partners to work collaboratively in an integrated environment.

All project team members in the Gautrain Provincial Support Team, including part-timers, receive training on the system. Workflows were designed to support contractual roles with the formal review of designs. These follow formal reporting and quality-control procedures, and create an audit trail for monitoring adherence to contract requirements. During the procurement process, prior to the selection of the preferred bidder, five levels of security ensure a 100 percent secure tendering  process.

To date, the Gautrain team controls more than 750,000 documents, including CAD and geospatial images, photographs, correspondence, and reports. Team members can access the latest documents allocated to them through a system of in-boxes created using the saved searches function. The customized system also allows team members to locate documents using a graphical interface. As-built drawings, designs, and documentation are being linked to a geospatial map to allow users to find documents by clicking on locations and specific structures.

“Document management and control has been one of the essential ingredients in the success of the project,” said Venter. “Without ProjectWise, it would not have been possible for us to complete our obligations on the project in the required time frames. It is an essential component of project management and control.”

The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link demonstrates how world-class infrastructure can foster growth and development, and help overcome economic disparities inherited from a controversial past. The government anticipates that this project will not only transform public transportation but also inspire hubs of residential, commercial, and retail development. This project has already created more than 50,000 jobs, which will increase to approximately 135,000 jobs before the construction and installation phase is completed.  For the operating and maintenance phases, it will create more than 2,700 permanent jobs and promote the equity participation of historically disadvantaged individuals in economic prosperity. To read about more extraordinary projects that applied technology to connect project teams, view The ProjectWise Project Showcase here:

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Categories: Metro Station, ProjectWise

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