By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After three and a half years of construction in Leblon, authorities say the two new Metro (subway) stations – Jardim de Alah and Antero de Quental – are in their final phases of completion. The two work sites were visited yesterday (March 21st) by the Secretary of State for Transport, Rodrigo Vieira, the Executive Secretary, Oswaldo Dreux, and the president of RioTrilhos, Tatiana Carius.
Hampered by delays and increased costs, in December of 2015, Rio officials signaled the need for an additional R$1 billion by the federal government to complete the Line 4 Metro in time for the Olympics. By March, state officials confirmed it would open in July, the month before the mega event.
Rio de Janeiro Transport Secretary Rodrigo Vieira said at the time. “By May all systems will be tested so that in June trains will run on this line and in the following month (July) we will have Line 4 fully operational.”
Just yesterday government sources reported that in Leblon’s Praça Jardim de Alah station, the rails have been installed in their permanent positions, and the next step is the mezzanine and the landing platforms which are under construction. The two passenger access points, located on avenues Borges de Medeiros and Rua Ataulfo de Paiva, already have metal structures installed.
The report also says that the Praça Antero de Quental station started testing operating systems. With the completion of the two power substations, ventilation systems, lighting and accessibility, such as escalators, are all being tested.
As far as what the new metro will mean to residents once it opens, Márcia Håberg, owner of the Português Carioca language school in Leblon explained, “Although I live in Leblon, I was brought up in Zona Oeste [West Zone] and always wanted to be able to come to Zona Sul. But besides being far, it would take me hours to get here.”
Adding, “The access to businesses in Leblon, Gávea and Barra will be much easier. It will facilitate the access for both my employees (the teachers) as well as some students who live in Barra. Besides that, I believe now with the new station Antero de Quental, we will get new students from Barra, as its traffic has always been one of big issues for those who wished to study here.”
The project to extend the Metro Line 4 broke ground in Leblon in 2012, and along with other stations is part of a larger effort on the city’s behalf to improve transportation in time for the 2016 Olympics. The connection to Barra is especially important because more than half of the sites for Olympic competitions will be located there.
Officials say the Metro Line 4 will unite Rio, integrate regions and bring quality of life to thousands of people. The Rio de Janeiro state government’s project will transport more than 300,000 people a day, removing about 2,000 vehicles from the streets during peak rush hour.
Line 4 will have fifteen new trains, which are already circulating in tests with passengers on lines 1 and 2. Ninety percent of the project is now complete, and the Metro Line 4 is expected to open on schedule.