WORKMEN ARE now putting the finishing touches to the Marquês de Pombal underpass tunnel beneath the city centre, a project which was initiated by former Lisbon Mayor, Pedro Santa Lopes, three years ago.
The 1,725 metre tunnel begins at the top of Avenida Duarte Pacheco, below Amoreiras, passes under the Marquês de Pombal roundabout, before turning left into Avenida Augusto Aguiar and Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo, where it exits.
The tunnel has three entry points and six exit points around the area and has resulted in extensive environmental improvements, including the planting of more than 100 new trees during its construction.
The project was conceived and constructed to alleviate chronic traffic jams coming into the city at rush hour from the suburbs of Sintra and from Praça de Espanha and Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo.
On March 30, council officer Pedro Feist, responsible for the Câmara’s public works department, made a site visit to the area and promised that an opening date would be announced within two weeks. Last week, engineers were carrying out safety tests on the tunnel.
Pedro Feist said that although the actual civil engineering phase of the tunnel was now completed, tests had to be carried out to anticipate every possible and unpredictable security situation. “These were necessary in order to assure motorists that it was safe to drive through the tunnel on a daily basis and to silence critics who had said that the tunnel was unsafe,” said Pedro Feist.
“This is one of the safest tunnels in Europe and should take up to 50,000 cars a day from the existing surface roads (which have been widened). I am sure that the people of Lisbon will be happy with the new tunnel.”
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