Protesting residents score tunnel victory
THE INITIAL works to excavate a tunnel for the AVE high-speed railway at Murcia city are to start on November 15 following months of protests by residents.
The decision was made during a meeting of local, regional and national authorities, with residents’ representatives and railway engineers on Tuesday. The works will start in the area closest to El Carmen station so trains can continue to operate.
The first stretch is 400 metres long and is expected to be completed in about three months. However, this will not to stop the controversial building works of a wall which will divide districts.
Juan Bravo, president of state-run railway company ADIF said the wall would be lower so homeowners do not feel cut off and bridges will be built to allow people to pass between the districts and reach amenities on either side of the railway.
President of the residents’ association Plataforma Pro-Soterramiento, Joaquín Contreras labelled the meeting ‘positive’ but said residents would continue to demonstrate peacefully.
He said they would only accept a tunnelled railway and stressed that the controversial temporary railway was a waste of public money.
The building works of the temporary railway are planned to be finished in March. This is designed to operate until the four-kilometre-long tunnel – which has not been put out to tender yet – is completed.