While the inflow of water into the Gautrain tunnel, specifically in the section between Johannesburg Park Station and Emergency Shaft 2 (E2) did not endanger the Gautrain operating system in the short term, government was concerned about the longer-term impacts this could have on the environment, as well as the operating system, Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) CEO Jack van der Merwe said on Thursday.
Speaking at a media briefing following an award by the arbitration tribunal in the tunnel water ingress dispute between the Gauteng provincial government and the Bombela Concession Company
on Wednesday, through which it ordered Bombela
to undertake immediate remedial work on the tunnel section between Park Station and E2, Van der Merwe
pointed out that government had a much longer-term outlook with regard to the rail line than that of Bombela
"Rail tunnels last for 100 years; however, the concession period is only 15 years.
Therefore, the concessionaire has a much shorter timeframe in mind when they look at the tunnel, while we, as government, will stay the owner of the project for the next 100 years and, therefore, we are saying that this [inflow of water] is unacceptable," he told Engineering News Online.
When asked by when the GMA
would like the water inflow problem rectified, Van der Merwe
responded that government would have preferred if this had been dealt with from the start.
"What we are going to do now is go into a construction phase, while we are actually operating.
While we [had] planned to have distinct construction and operational phases, we will now have two systems running at once," he