As if the 621 million euros that will be allocated to burying the train tracks in Montcada i Reixac seemed few, this enormous work of “urban integration” is going to gain another 174 million (with VAT, 143.8 million without it), raising the bill up to 800 million. The Railway Infrastructure Administrator (Adif) has just put out to tender the second work that completes the project of this controversial burial after receiving the go-ahead from the Council of Ministers, with which all the parties involved intend to leave behind years of neighborhood claims for the nearly 200 people who have died from being run over while crossing the tracks recklessly.
This second work, intended to complete the integration of the railway layout in the urban fabric of the municipality, is part of the major actions of the ‘Plan Transformem Rodalies’ launched by the Government to improve this network. R2 and other conventional trains, for which the construction of a new variant will be carried out that will optimize the layout as it passes through the Barcelona neighborhood of Vallbona.
This action seeks to improve the layout of the conventional Barcelona-Portbou line with the suppression of the existing third curve and the incorporation of a track that will run parallel to the Madrid-Barcelona high-speed line (LAV) for 1.5 kilometers, increasing the Iberian gauge infrastructure capacity. In addition, a ram jump will be installed at the so-called “Waters bifurcation” (Santa Coloma de Gramanet) to avoid rail crossings at the same level and improve the connection between the branches that start from said derivation.
The project includes action on groundwater, minimizing its “barrier effect” on the high-speed line as it passes through Vallbona. A mixed pumping and suction siphon system will be installed on both sides of the route, and the remaining surface between the LAV and the conventional line will be released for other uses.
A controversial burial with many zeros
The 800 million earmarked for this burial will make it possible to break the physical barrier generated by this infrastructure, inaugurated 145 years ago. The urban growth of Montcada i Reixac has meant that its plot is separated by the train, giving rise to an important movement of people from one side of the tracks to the other. The generalization of illegal crossings by many inhabitants has been saved with the tragic figure of 179 deaths; the last one a month ago.
The town hall of the town had been demanding to pass the tracks underground for years and the political links between PSOE, PSC, En Comú Podem and ERC, partners in the governments of the Generalitat and the central Executive have made it easier for the Ministry of Transport to end up carrying out the burial project, which will send the four kilometers of tracks that today circulate in the open air to an underground tunnel. By eliminating the surface layout, safety conditions for residents and for railway operation will be increased, by eliminating two level crossings.
For this burial to become a reality, it must still overcome one last milestone: its tender, which is currently paralyzed while waiting for Geocontrol, the person in charge of drafting the work project, to review the reckless offers that two of the consortiums have presented: the one formed by Vías y Construcciones, Copisa, Azvi and Ingeniería y Servicios, on the one hand; and that of Ferrovial, Comsa and FCC for another.
Both claimed significant cost reductions in certain operations, although Adif pre-awarded the contract to Ferrovial, FCC and Comsa. The price review will make it possible to settle this public tender and avoid future claims, since 500 million euros are at stake, one of the largest works of the legislature.