die belebende Bedenkung

Completed in record time

with one comment

In 2003 Spain’s development ministry awarded the contract for the Pajares high speed rail tunnels, plus several smaller links to connect Asturias and León. They have already swallowed up more than €3 billion, and there is no opening date in sight.

[‘€1.2 billion over budget and still no opening date in sight’, Rafael Méndez, El Pais English, 7 May 2014]

[…] The project had a budget of just under €1.8 billion and involved nearly all of Spain’s major builders: FCC, Acciona, Dragados, Ferrovial, Sacyr, Constructora Hispánica and others.

But the trouble started soon, when water began seeping into the tunnels. “The tunnelling machine kept running into pockets of water,” recalls [construction worker] El Tigre, who is currently unemployed. “I have seen the water pull away containers weighing three tons. But instead of stopping to seal the tunnel properly, we were told to go faster to get out of the water area fast.”

He then pulls out some photographs and videos taken by construction workers before cellphones were banned at the construction site.

The tunnels were completed in record time. On July 11, 2009, then-Public Works Minister José Blanco attended an event to celebrate the occasion. But the water problems were still there.

El Tigre orders another orujo and notes: “Instead of boring the tunnels eight months ahead of schedule, they should have taken longer, but that was money for the construction companies. Our orders were to finish fast, no matter what.”


Written by beleben

May 11, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Tagged with ,

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I wonder if there are any similarities in the geology – tunnelling though a mix of limestone and sandstone, and the former riddled with aquifers, which for the Spanish project has delivered an environmental problem on a grand scale of ‘dried-up’ springs where the tunnelling has diverted their water.

    Worth also mentioning the Spanish version of Mam Tor (where a UK trunk road was eventually abandoned as the relentless movement of an unstable slope made the never-ending repair bill unviable) the line was to be built as a berm in a hillside against the advice of locals and the obvious decision of the road builders to build away from the slope on a viaduct – the rail builders have attempted to deal with this by building a massive wall, in addition to the costly tunnelling.

    I’d refer you also to the article (in English) in Railvolution magazine (Issue 1/14) by Mike Bent p 29-31 which has pictures taken from the leaking tunnels.

    Dave H (@BCCletts)

    May 11, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: