The new manager for Cuenca’s Tranvía de los Cuatro Rios said Thursday that construction of the train system will not be complete until the first days of 2017. The announcement followed the resignation earlier in the week of Gerard Fernandez, who had managed the project since 2013.
The new deadline outraged business owners along the tram construction route, many of whom who have endured as much as two years of disruptions on their doorsteps. “How can it be that they (the city) cannot manage this project?” asked Wilson Dominguez, who owns a tienda on Calle Gran Colombia in the historic district. “The contractors are Europeans who have built these systems before, they are not Ecuadorians. They should know what they are doing. The lies just keep coming,” he said.
William Argudo, who assumed tram management on Tuesday from Fernandez, said an exact completion date will be determined in the coming days and will be announced by Mayor Marcelo Cabrera. “We will continue to make finishing work in El Centro and Av. España a priority,” said Argudo. “We understand the businesses and property owners in those areas have suffered because of the delays.”
Argudo said that a number of project contractors have asked for schedule extensions and that these are being evaluated and well as overall construction status. “We will know much more in a few days,” he said. He added that one factor in the delay is slow delivery of money from the government.
“This project will be completed, it is just that it will take a little longer,” Ardudo said.
Since the start of construction on the $232,964,863 project in 2011, there have been four deadlines, two of them in 2015.
On Wednesday, prior to the latest announcement, affected business owners protested in Parque Calderon in front of the municipal building. “The new schedule shows that the managers knew for months that they would miss the deadline,” Dominguez said. “The manager (Fernandez) quit because of this lie. We are very disappointed and we will continue to protest and to hold the municipality responsible.”