For the first time, city officials admit that construction of Cuenca’s tram may not meet the October 13 deadline. They are quick to add, however, that that only one small section of track will remain to be finished.
“It may not be possible to finish everything on time,” says city tram coordinator Jaime Guzmán. “We have encountered unexpected difficulties in Milchichig but we have resolved the main obstacle and should be able to complete work in that sector within a few weeks after the original deadline.”
The unexpected obstacle was the refusal of a property owner to alow the installation of a retaining wall adjacent to the train tracks, Guzmán says. At one point, it looked like the issue would land in court, causing a lengthy delay. “The good news is that we have reached a resolution and work can proceed immediately,” he says. He adds that the conflict affects 30 to 50 meters of track installation.
Guzmán says he is meeting with officials of French project manager ACTN to determine the schedule for the work in Milchichig and review overall progress. A full analysis will be released October 8.
Except for the Milchichig retaining wall and work on the adjoining bridge over the Rio Milchichig, work on the rest of the project should be complete by the deadline, Guzmán says. “We are working around the clock, seven days a week with hundreds of workers. People can see the progress and the rapid pace of the project.”
Earlier in the month, ACTN has requested an additional 41 days to complete the project based on the retaining wall issue in Milchichig but the city refused the request. Guzmán says that he is in constant contact with ACTN and both sides are “talking through” the problems.
Under terms of the contract, the city can fine ACTN $48,000 a day if the project is not complete on schedule.