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Key Rail Project on Track

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Next year’s World Cup soccer competition is providing powerful motivation on a major transportation project. Gautrain is an 80-kilometer rail line linking Johannesburg with Pretoria, with a spur leading to OR Tambo International Airport, which serves both cities. The route will tunnel underground for 15 km, cross 55 bridges and travel on viaducts for 10.5 km. It involves 6.7 million cubic meters of earthmoving, with a peak work force of 6,000. Phase one, the 20-km airport connector, is currently on target for its May 2010 deadline. It is structured as a public- private partnership, awarded to the Bombela Consortium, made up of Bombardier (Canada), Bouygues Travaux Publics (France) and two South African firms, Murray & Roberts and Strategic Partners Group. The $3.3-billion contract includes a 15-year operations and maintenance agreement. The overall project is expected to be in service by 2011.

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