By Ruth Faulkner, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The progress of the new Metro Line 4 in Rio de Janeiro was confirmed to meet its June 2016 deadline by authorities on Tuesday, May 12th. The Metro Line will connect both Gávea and Ipanema in Zona Sul (South Zone) via São Conrado with Barra da Tijuca in the Zona Oeste (West Zone), where the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Park is located.
So far, 10.5 km of tunnels have been excavated in rock, and the rails have been placed between Barra and São Conrado. Tracks have been laid between the stations of Nossa Senhora da Paz and General Osório and a 350-meter stretch of Estação Jardim Oceânico, which will serve as maneuvering area and allow future expansion of the line toward Recreio. In total 11.5km of tracks have been laid out so far.
The next scheduled steps of the construction include the arrival of the drilling machine at Estação Jardim de Alah in Leblon in August of this year, and then in Antero de Quental in October. In December 2015, excavation will begin at the end of Leblon to meet the tunnel that is being dug from Barra in direction of the Zona Sul.
The progress of the Line was inspected by Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, the Mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, Rio governor Luis Fernando Pezão and the Transportation Secretary Carlos Roberto Osorio on May 12th, with the group travelling 5km of the line between Barra da Tijuca and São Conrado, using a special vehicle for running in tunnels with steel wheels to traffic on rails.
Transportation Secretary Osorio, noted that Line 4 will carry over 300,000 passengers per day, effectively removing 2,000 vehicles per hour in peak time from the streets. “The Line 4 is one of the most important infrastructure projects in Brazil. And, for Rio de Janeiro, it is crucial because it will close the high capacity transport ring of the city, connecting the West Zone to the South Zone and the city center, giving comfort and convenience to the users of public transport in our city,” he said.
It is expected that Line 4 will reduce journey time from Barra to Ipanema to fifteen minutes, and Barra to Centro to 34 minutes. The six new stations will be; Jardim Oceânico, São Conrado, Gávea, Antero de Quental, Jardim de Alah and Nossa Senhora da Paz. Construction of this line started in June 2010 and has seen considerable delays.