The early months of 2017 will see work crews putting in many extra shifts as a push is made to finish Guadalajara’s third Tren Ligero (subway) line by its scheduled deadline at the end of March.
According to federal Transportation Secretary Gerardo Ruiz, work on the line was “92 percent complete” by the end of 2017.
Sources close to the project, however, say finishing the subway line on time will be a major challenge, given the amount of delays experienced during the past three years of construction.
The 18-station line will run 21 kilometers diagonally across the metropolitan area from the northern periferico (beltway) through the centers of Zapopan and Guadalajara, to the bus stations in Tonala.
The most serious delays affected tunneling of the four-kilometer, five-station underground section below Guadalajara’s downtown. Although checks suggest the opposite, concerns linger that damage has been been done to some historic buildings, including the Cathedral.
Reports indicate that the tunnel boring machine has now reached its final destination at Plaza de la Bandera.
Although most of the overground rail tracks are in place, some of the elevated stations appear to be progressing slowly, in particular those located at the Zapopan Basilica and Plaza Patria. In contrast, the stations at the Mercado del Mar (fish market) and periferico look to be well advanced.
The first of the French-made light trains arrived in the city last fall and tests have already taken place on sections of the track.
Jalisco Governor Aristoteles Sandoval will be anxious to get the third subway line up and running before the July 1 elections. It is the major public work of his administration and to be able to boast that the line is on time and fully functional would not just be a feather in his cap but provide a significant campaign boost for his party’s gubernatorial candidate.