By Lisa Flueckiger, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The long anticipated new Metro (Subway) Line 4 connecting Rio de Janeiro’s Zona Sul (South Zone) and Barra da Tijuca is set to open on time in June 2016 according to Rio Governor Pezão and Secretary for Transport Carlos Roberto Osório, with the drilling machine currently working between Leblon’s future stations Jardim de Alah and Antero de Quental.
The current schedule for drilling accounts for a scheduled maintenance period for the drilling machine in September, before it will continue excavations at Antero de Quental in October. The machine is set to reach the next station, Alto Leblon, by December of this year, and from Alto Leblon the connection with the tunnel dug from Barra da Tijuca will be made.
“[The works are] on schedule and in some cases, even early. We arrived at the Jardim de Alah ahead of schedule by over thirty days, which shows the ability of Brazilian engineering,” Governor Pezão stated when he visited the works yesterday (July 21st).
“This operation is not simple and the deadline [has been] kept. Line 4 is an important legacy for the public and a work of great complexity which employs 9,200 workers. We want to continue expanding because the metro represents quality of life, dignity and citizenship for people,” he continued.
The drilling process employs an innovative technique that has never been used in Brazil before. Before the drilling machine reached Jardim de Alah, coming from below the channel, part of the station was filled with water to even out the pressure of the ground and allow the machine to continue operating in a similar environment to the one found under the channel.
“It was the most complex stage of this entire work. Due to its proximity to the Jardim de Alah channel, we flooded the station to decrease possible risks of the operation. This technique was performed a few times in the world and for the first time in Brazil. That was one of the key points to the success of our enterprise and we managed it successfully,” Metro Line 4 production manager, Aluísio Coutinho, explained.
At the moment, twelve of the entire sixteen kilometers of tunnels between Barra da Tijuca and Ipanema have already been excavated, with four of the six new stations being dug out as well. Overall, fifteen kilometers of tracks have already been laid.
“Rio has to celebrate the finishing of the most complex stage of the work of Metro Line 4. It was a major operation of Brazilian engineering. The arrival of the drilling machine at the future station Jardim de Alah with more than thirty days in advance, guarantees our schedule to delivery of the work. Today, we took an important step for the people: the work will be ready in June next year,” Secretary for Transport Carlos Roberto Osório promised.
The new metro line will start controlled operations in June 2016, only functioning outside rush hours. Larger gaps between the trains will allow for adjustments and testing. By July 2016, the new metro line will operate normally.