Big Milestone Achieved for Metro Project in Rio

(ATR) The final barrier for the Line 4 metro has been broken through in Rio de Janeiro.

(ATR) The final barrier for the Line 4 metro has been broken through in Rio de Janeiro.

The final stretch of tunnel of the Olympic metro preparations was excavated in the Leblon neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. With the breakthrough, 92.5 percent of works have been completed on the metro line.

Rio de Janeiro State Governor Luiz Fernando Pezão said on his Facebook page that "another step has been won" in the completion of the metro. Pezão is currently receiving treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and his duties have been assumed by acting governor Francisco Dornelles.

"Today we received great news," Pezão wrote. "The [construction] broke through the last wall and joined the tunnels of the western and southern areas of the Line 4 subway. Congratulations to almost 10,000 workers, responsible for the construction of this great work, which soon the population will enjoy."

The joining of the current completed tunnels presents a jolt of good news for the project, which has been ongoing since 2010 and delayed until one month from the start of the Olympic Games. A spokesperson from Rio 2016 confirmed that backup plans involving additional Bus Rapid-Transit were discussed between the organizing committee and Rio de Janeiro city hall, but those plans have been scrapped due to the metro progress this week. Around the Rings learned that if the tunneling had not been completed by April 15, talks of those plans would have progressed.

IOC members in Rio de Janeiro continue to express their overall confidence in the Olympic project to ATR, even with the backdrop of political and economic instability looming in Brasilia.

"It should be fine," Sergey Bubka, IOC member from Ukraine, said to ATR on the eve of the final coordination commission meeting. "I think everything is going very well; we will be ready in time."

Rio de Janeiro State Secretary of Transport Rodrigo Viera said that it was a "special emotion," to see the final breakthrough of the excavation for the metro line. Viera took over the project from previous secretary of transport Carlos Osorio in February, after Osorio went back to his position in the federal government to prepare for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro municipal elections.

"We have worked a lot on this project and monitored the excavation of the southern section, which departed from Ipanema in 2012," Viera said in a statement provided to ATR. "The next step is to follow up the Gavea, after the Olympics, so that by the end of 2017, we can provide the subway system station for more of the population."

All 15 cars that will be used for the line 4 metro are currently in operation on the other two lines of the Rio de Janeiro metro. The subway is expected to be completed in June, with the inauguration of the line set for July 1.

Written by Aaron Bauer in Rio de Janeiro

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