/ 9 July 2008

Rosebank sinkhole: Govt halts work on Gautrain

Gautrain builder Bombela has been instructed to cease excavations in the region where a huge sinkhole appeared in Oxford Road, Rosebank, on Tuesday.

Bombela has now stopped work to assess the extent of the sinkhole.

There is a roughly eight metre by 12 metre hole in the road between 8th Avenue and and North Road. The Gautrain tunnel is said to be about 10m below the surface of the road.

Department of Mineral and Energy Affairs spokesperson Bheki Khumalo said inspectors issued instructions on Tuesday that no further underground work be done in the area.

Engineers would have to carry out thorough investigations, and the department would only lift the order once it had been satisfied that excavations posed no further hazards.

The order was issued in terms of mine, health and safety legislation.

Safety officials were trying to determine if there were any other cracks along the road which could be dangerous.

The area was cordoned off and motorists were being diverted off Oxford Road into Riviera Road and 11th Avenue.

Dozens of Gautrain workers, metro police and paramedics were on the site on Tuesday afternoon.

Bombela company spokesperson Kelebogile Machaka said the project team was assessing the situation.

The team was taking the necessary measures to re-open the road as soon as possible.

”As a result of the continuous monitoring system employed by Bombela, preventative measures were taken.

”No injuries were sustained to either members of the public or construction staff,” she said.

Also on Tuesday, Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa took delivery of the first four-car train set, custom-branded in the Gautrain’s colours, at Bombardier’s assembly plant in Derby the United Kingdom.

”Bearing the pride of the nation, Gautrain has reached a major milestone in its delivery of world-class public transport to South Africa,” said Shilowa.

”With uncompromising levels of safety, security, comfort and punctuality, passengers can look forward to unprecedented standards of service,” he said. – Sapa