By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – More major construction will start in Centro of Rio de Janeiro’s Região Portuária (Port Zone) on November 15th, as work on the Veículo Leve sobre Trilhos (the Light Vehicle on Tracks) continues. Known as the “VLT”, when completed, should connect 28 kilometers of rail with six lines and 42 stops including four new stations.
Construction on three of the five VLT tracks Vargas will start tomorrow, from the Rio Branco Avenue, between Rua Visconde de Inhaúma and Avenida Presidente, removing the asphalt and excavating the area where the rails will be laid.
Then on November 29th, the Rio Branco will be partially closed from Avenida Presidente Vargas to Avenida Beira Mar, in Cinelândia, to install tubes which will pass power and data to feed into the transportation system. Following will be the preparation for the foundation for the rail line, and the installation of breakpoints.
“The power of the VLT is electric and a form of energy that is [run] underground. The energy in the rails is automatically triggered only when the vehicle passes by that point, then immediately disconnects,” said Luiz Lobo, the director of operations of the Company for Urban Development of the Region of Porto (CDURP) when explaining the rails and their safety, adding, “Therefore, they will offer no risk to the public.”
Because of the changes in Centro on November 29th, the traffic on Avenida Rio Branco, composed entirely of city buses, will be diverted to the Avenida Presidente Antônio Carlos and Rua Primeiro de Março. In the opposite direction, toward the Aterro do Flamengo (Flamengo Park), the central roadway will be closed, currently used by taxis, with the two tracks reserved for bus traffic maintained.
Once running it is estimated that 32 trains will eventually operate on the VLT lines and that six lines will help to transport approximately 285,000 passengers per day. Completion of the work on the VLT lines is scheduled for 2016 before the Olympics and Paralympics games begin in the city.
The VLT project is one part of ongoing urban revitalization works in Rio in preparation for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. Other projects have included the Transcarioca Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and various Port Zone or Porto Maravilha initiatives.