Work to begin on Sintra line tunnel

THE CONSORTIUM that will undertake restructuring work on Rossio tunnel will finally be chosen from five candidates next week. The tunnel has been closed since October 2004, when it had been announced that the problem would be solved within 60 days. Rui Reis, a spokesman for Refer, the company responsible for the 2km of tunnel, confirmed that the various proposals put forward by the five consortia were being studied and a decision would be reached by June 6. The re-opening of the tunnel was originally estimated for June 2006, although the whole process is already nearly two months behind schedule.

The date limit for the various consortia to put forward their proposals was to have been in April, but the “extreme complexity of the works needed to be carried out to stabilise the tunnel has delayed the proposals,” added Reis. An estimated 1,226 metres of the tunnel is considered dangerous and it is anticipated that 50 million euros will be needed to fix the problem.

Meanwhile, commuters into Lisbon from the Sintra line have had to endure sardine like conditions on rush hour trains into Sete Rios and Entre Campos stations.

The project will include a tarmac platform along the entire length of the tunnel and modern state of the art security and safety features.

The five consortia in the running to undertake the works are Teixeira Duarte, EPUS & Somasel Somague, Neopul/Tecnasol and Cavosa, Bento Pedroso/MSF, Fergrupo and EFACEC, Mota-Engil/Ferrovias and Zagope Spie Batignolles, OPCA and PromoRail. C.G.