GUADALAJARA, Mexico – A tunnel boring machine used to build the Barcelona-to-Paris high-speed-rail link is excavating the final underground stretch of a third light-rail line in this western Mexican city, a project aimed at transforming public transportation in its metro area.
“After 22 years of neglect in terms of transportation, we’re building this 21.3-kilometer (13.2-mile) line that consists of three parts, two elevated and one underground,” Rodolfo Guadalajara, director-general of Guadalajara’s Urban Electric Train System (Siteur), told EFE.
The underground phase of Line 3 was launched at Guadalajara’s Glorieta La Normal station, where the 2,200-kilogram (4,845-pound) tunnel boring machine, owned by Spanish construction company Sacyr Vallehermoso, began excavating an average of between 14-16 meters (46-52 feet) per day.
The underground work is now 83 percent complete.
All of the operations are overseen by a command center that ensures pressure is stable to avoid cave-ins or sinkholes.
Five of Line 3’s stations will be located underground once work is completed: La Normal, Alcalde, Catedral, Independencia and Plaza de la Bandera.
Line 3, a route that will take 33 minutes to cover, will help reduce commute times for people from three municipalities – Zapopan, Guadalajara and Tlaquepaque.
Besides underground excavation, the machine also performs tunnel lining using concrete and steel rings.
Construction of the tunnel provides work for some 10,000 direct employees and also generates an additional 15,000 indirect jobs.
Besides Mexican workers, individuals from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Colombia and Peru also are involved in the project.
A total of 1,600,589 cubic meters (56.4 million cubic feet) of soil removed by the tunnel boring machine will be used in building a 10-hectare (25-acre) park in a section of the Guadalajara metro area known as Hoyanco.