By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Several infrastructure projects from a bikeway at Avenida Niemeyer, to plans of a new metro line in Zona Sul (South Zone) to the start of construction of a fourth major BRT line took shape in the last two weeks, all designed to improve movement in Rio’s notorious traffic. The new ventures aim to connect the dots of the several projects underway at the moment.
Construction started last week on a new BRT (bus rapid transit) exclusive bus line, the Transbrasil, which goes from Olympic site Deodoro to Caju, a neighborhood of Rio’s Port Zone and will eventually end up in Centro. With this project the BRT will be connected to the new VLT lines that are also currently under construction in Centro, while also linking to the already finished Transcarioca BRT line that joins both Olympic zones Deodoro and Barra da Tijuca.
The new BRT line will be 30km long and have 28 stops, four of them major terminals. The major part of it, 23km, will be built by the Prefeitura and is a part of investment fund PAC, while the remaining 7km lie in the responsibility of Cdurp, the company responsible for the Port Zone. The new line will go along Avenida Brasil and requires a widening of the already busy street, probably leading to disruptions of the city’s traffic.
At the same time, construction for a new bikeway at Avenida Niemeyer started this week, blocking the street that links Leblon to São Conrado from Sundays to Thursdays from 11:30PM until 5AM. The new path should be concluded by May 2015 and links to the existing bikeway along Leblon and Ipanema beach.
Another bikeway is also being included in the widening of the Joá highway, the intersection between São Conrado and Barra da Tijuca that has been under construction since August this year. It is part of the Olympic traffic system that aims to open up the bottleneck by doubling the current lanes.
Also this week, plans of a new metro Line 5 in Zona Sul have surfaced. The new route should go from Gávea, along Jardim Botânico, Humaitá, Laranjeiras and Santa Teresa and stop next to Centro’s Carioca station. The plans are in the initial bidding stage and no financial proposals have so far been handed in by the three construction companies competing for the project.
The precise location of the stops is also still part of the debate, although it has already been made clear that some areas and buildings for example at Santa Teresa’s main square Largo do Guimarães will have to be expropriated.
The construction is planned to start in early 2016 to make use of the availability of the drilling machine at site for the new Line 4, which will then be concluded in time for the Olympic Games in August 2016.