Medellin Metro Consider Possible Underground Extension

Medellin Metro Consider Possible Underground Extension

Ramiro Márquez Ramírez, General Manager of the Medellin Metro, explained this week that his team of engineers are considering the possibility of one day extending the network underground, using technology the city has acquired to construct part of the cities sewer system.

“For the past 30 years we have considered the possibility of an underground transport system”, the General Manager noted, when discussing future transport developments this week.

Márquez Ramírez explained that the construction of the eight mile ‘north interceptor’ sewage network, connecting the northern municipality Bello with the EPM water treatment plant, may provide a blueprint for a future subterranean metro extension in Colombia’s second city. The tunneling technology used in Bello is the same as that deployed to construct the ‘Channel Tunnel’ which consists of a pair of 50.5km, 7.6m diameter tubes, used to operate the Eurostar train between France and England .

The Medellin Metro insist that, while they see the value in such a project moving forward, any feasibility studies would have to wait until “after the 2006-2030 Metro Master Plan” has been completed.

Victor Valencia Alaix, infrastructure specialist at the National University in Medellin, believes that such a project could have a positive impact, if the additional costs can be justified.

“We have to see if there is justification as on average the investment needed is three times higher than ground level or elevated metro. It can be very useful and may provide a practical solution, but it has to be very well justified”.

The discussion of a possible underground metro line in Medellin comes in the wake of the Bogota Metro announcement that the entirety of the capitals new Metro line will be constructed underground. Costs of the project have subsequently risen drastically, and there is growing resistance to the much delayed project.

The final design for the Metro de Bogota project can be downloaded here.