Cuenca’s transportation office says it will have professional archeologists on site when tram construction begins in the historic district in January.
In announcing steps it will take to reduce the impact on the district, Gerard Fernandez, transportation director, said that making sure that historic relics are saved and that the integrity of the historic district is preserved will be a primary objective during construction. “There have been people living the area of the historic district for centuries, even thousands of years, and we will be careful to rescue objects that are uncovered during construction,” he said. “Having archeologists on site will save time and make sure nothing is lost or damaged during construction.”
Fernandez says that, for archeological purposes, the tram route has been organized in three sectors, with the historic district considered the most important.
The inclusion of archeologists in the construction process was suggested by a UNESCO technical team that visited Cuenca in August. “This is a very good idea and we will follow it,” Fernandez said.
The transportation office also said is following UNESCO advice in developing an inventory of historic buildings along the tram route on Calles Gran Colombia, Mariscal La Mar and Sangurima. In addition, Fernandez says, extra care will be used during construction adjacent to historic buildings of special importance, such as the Santo Domingo church and the Casa de las Posadas museum.
Fernandez also said that the tram will operate on batteries in the historic district and that there will be no overhead electric cables.