Rossio tunnel finished by next summer

LIGHT COULD soon be at the end of the tunnel for thousands of commuters who daily suffer the delays and crowded trains on the Sintra misery line into Lisbon.

For months, passengers have been rerouted via Sete Rios, Campolide, Roma and Entrecampos since work on the dangerous and unstable Rossio tunnel had started and stopped.

Closed since last October, a consortium of construction companies has finally won the bid to carry out the work scheduled to conclude by the end of summer 2006 at a cost of 31 million euros. The contract consortium is Teixeira Duarte/Epos/Somafel whose estimate of 31,78 million euros was agreed by rail track and infrastructure company Refer last Friday. Work should start this month.

The overall engineering project to resolve the structural problems was developed by the company Grid at a cost of 1.2 million euros, with other associated planning and architectural costs standing at around 400,000 euros.

It is expected the grand total of the works will set the government back 35,560 million euros, which is well below the original estimate given in January by the Minister of Public Works and Transport, António Mexia. At that time, the minister said the cost of putting the tunnel’s structural faults right would cost a whopping 50 million euros.

Refer had invited tenders for the contract to five consortia to increase competition and because no one company had all the specialised skills necessary to carry out the works.

The work will concentrate on four basic areas within the tunnel that need urgent reinforcing because they were in danger of collapse. C.G.