Acknowledging that it still looking for money to fund studies for a new freeway system, the administration of Mayor Marcelo Cabrera says the 2015 city budget will emphasize sidewalk reconstruction, park maintenance and road repairs.
He said the new budget does not include planning money for a by-pass freeway that could cost more than half a billion dollars.
According to Cabrera, the budget focuses on improving mobility and utilities in neighborhoods, particularly in the city’s historic district. “We will work to improve infrastructure in all areas of the canton and paying special attention to improving access to tourists in Centro,” he said.
Work on historic district sidewalks will begin early in the year and include repairs on Calles Miguel Estrella, Manuel Vega, Alfonso Malo, Jesus Arriaga, Alfonso Jerves, Tomas Ordonez, Vargas Machuca and Manuel Arevalo.
Signage and curbs will also be upgraded in the district.
Traffic circles are a challenge for tram construction
One of the major engineering and design challenges in the construction of Cuenca’s light rail system is traversing five traffic circles. The largest circles, or redondels, are at Remigio Crespo at Av. Solano, Gran Colombia at Av. Las Americas and Av. España at Milchichig, outside of the airport terminal.
Cuenca transportation director Gerard Fernandez says that the planning required to cross the rendonels has been one of the major challenges of tram construction. “Fortunately, the European engineers on the project have worked with similar situations in other countries and know from experience how to handle them,” he says.
A major challenge during construction, Fernandez says, is to keep traffic moving. “There will be disruptions and reroutings and we will do all can to keep this to a minimum.”
Fernandez says the pace of tram construction will accelerate in January and that the faster pace will be maintained until the project is complete in mid-2016. He acknowledges that traffic problems will probably get worse before they get better, due to construction.