By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The new stretch of metro line, Linha 4, that is being constructed to link Zona Sul (South Zone) with Barra da Tijuca in the Zona Oeste (West Zone) may not be ready in time for the 2016 Rio Olympics unless R$1 billion is given by the federal government for the project.
Carlos Roberto Osório, Rio’s transport secretary, said R$445 million in funding from the BNDES national development bank had already been approved by the treasury and was due to be released his month.
He requested a further R$500 million in order to complete the non-Olympic sections of the works (Gávea station) and the connection between lines 1 and 4.
“Obviously we want to finish the work as a whole. Therefore, the governor has signaled the need for R$1 billion,” said Osório.
The opening of the new metro line is now scheduled for July 1st 2016, in time for the beginning of the Olympic Games in the city on August 5th. Osório was optimistic that the funding would be supplied but emphasized that without it the opening date may not be met.
“We are awaiting the arrival of President Dilma Rousseff in Rio to discuss the release of funds for completion of construction of Metro Line 4. About R$500 million have been requested from the BNDES to complete it in time the Olympics,” state governor Luiz Fernando Pezão said last week.
Six new stations are being constructed as part of the Linha 4 works – Nossa Senhora da Paz, Jardim de Alah, Antero de Quental, Gávea, São Conrado and Jardim Oceânico – linking for the first time Zona Sul with Barra da Tijuca where the main Olympic Park will be.
The new metro line will carry more that 300,000 people today, freeing the roads of close to 2,000 vehicles per hour at peak times. A journey from Barra to Ipanema will take thirteen minutes and thirty four minutes to Centro.
However passengers who pick up the line on the new extension will have to change trains at General Osório in Ipanema in order to continue their journey to Centro as the connection will not have been completed by July next year. After a testing phase, passengers should be able to make the journey continuously from the beginning of 2017.
The two officials visited a section of the new track last, Tuesday, December 15th. They travelled between São Conrado and Barra da Tijuca. Works are 83 percent complete, with only seven hundred meters of excavation remaining to be done. Sao Conrado station, the second largest on the line, is in the final stage of completion.
During the excavation of rock on the stretch between Barra da Tijuca and Leblon, 3,865 tons of explosives have been used, the equivalent to the fireworks needed for 161 New Year’s Eve celebrations in Copacabana. Close to 256,000 m3 of concrete were also used in the tunnel, the same amount as would have been used to build 3.2 Maracanã stadiums in 1950.