Lines 1 and 2 are almost ready for operning. CARLOS MORET
The first official meeting between the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre and the new president of the Junta de Andalucía, Susana Díaz, ended with good news last Friday. The authorities have managed to break the deadlock that was thwarting the progress of the underground rail system through the city.
In recent months, due to a shortage of funds, the Junta de Andalucía had suggested taking the trains over ground through the city centre, however the city authorities favoured the original plans of digging a tunnel all the way across the Alameda Principal to the Plaza de la Marina and eventually to La Malagueta.
However last Friday Francisco de la Torre and Susana Díaz, along with regional head of development, Elena Cortés, emerged from their cordial meeting with an agreement that suited all sides.
The metro service will be extended underground from the Guadalmedina station, but only as far as a point halfway down the Alameda Principal, on a level with the Atarazanas market building.
The change, according to the Junta, will be 130 million euros cheaper than the original project
Saving the trees
The station will be located on the north side of the avenue at the junction with Calle Torregorda. The lift and escalator access to the station will not affect the old ficus trees, whose preservation was an important factor in the new plans. The station will be only 200 metres from the end of the city’s main Calle Marqués de Larios.
The new tunnel from the Guadalmedina station (opposite El Corte Inglés), currently the end of the line as far as construction is concerned, will be 550 metres long. The main challenge for engineers will be crossing under the river Guadalmedina.
As well as saving more trees, the new plan reduces the chances of the construction work coming across archaeological remains, an obstacle the project was more likely to encounter had the tunnel continued as far as the Plaza de la Marina. The new agreement will also avoid the loss of much of the municipal car park under the Plaza de la Marina.
Instead of working towards extending the line further east (Line 3 was originally planned to reach El Palo), regional and local authorities have agreed to concentrate on Line 4, heading north eventually towards Ciudad Jardín. This line will run over ground, like a tram, leaving the Guadalmedina station and heading, in its first phase, as far as the Hospital Civil. The technical details of this project have yet to be revealed however it is thought that the lines will follow Calle Hilera and Eugenio Gross.
At an estimated cost of between 15 and 20 million euros, this stretch will serve a highly populated area north of the city centre as well as the Hospital Civil and the Materno.
Apart from matters concerning the metro service both the president of the Junta (PSOE) and the mayor (PP) stressed the “good climate of understanding” between both sides, stressing that the metro had to stop being an object of political confrontation.
“We have come up with an agreed and negotiated solution for a metro that adapts to requirements, is financially sustainable and meets citizens’ demands,” said Susana Díaz.
The mayor said that he had receive the Junta’s “change in stance” with pleasure. “With this solution everyone wins, because the city wins,” he said.
The tunnel from El Corte Inglés to Calle Torregorda is expected to cost 50 million euros. The original plans envisaged taking the tunnel as far as La Malagueta at a cost of 200 million of which 108 million would have corresponded to the stretch as far as the Plaza de la Marina.
Lines 1 and 2
Meanwhile the finishing touches are being made to Lines 1 and 2 which will begin to operate as far as El Perchel before the end of the year.