Caves and cenotes are driving up the Mayan Train’s construction costs

The modifications include 61 additional kilometers in contrast with the original project

Caves and cenotes are driving up the Mayan Train’s construction costs
The results obtained through the prefeasibility study showed that the original construction plan carried several risks - Photo: File photo
English 05/07/2020 15:12 Noé Cruz Serrano Mexico City Actualizada 15:27

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The changes implemented in the original plan for the construction of the Mayan Train will increase its budget by MXN 16,916 million. According to information provided by the National Tourism Promotion Fund (Fonatur), the construction project will cost MXN 156,000 million, although the initial budget was set at MXN 139,084 million. 

The information released by Fonatur shows that caves and cenotes are an issue in the fourth stretch of the Mayan Train since they represent “technical complications whose solutions involve the increase in the project's price and deadline, and risk during the execution.” This forced the construction company to modify the plan titled Gulf 3, between Izamal-Tulum, with an approximate length of 196 kilometers. 

The modifications now include 61 additional kilometers in contrast with the original project. 

Moreover, it is expected that the company will build a double track that implies a maximum velocity of up to 160 kilometers per hour, as well as a station to facilitate a connection with Holbox. 

Recommended: Everything you need to know about the Mayan Train project

EL UNIVERSAL had access to official documents where it is explained that this stretch will run through a double track with slopes for trains to cross and pass through every 50 kilometers, with a length of 1,500 meters in each slope, expect from the railway branch to Pisté, which is going to be a single track. 

Fonatur explained that the results obtained through the prefeasibility study showed that the original construction plan carried several risks. 

The modifications made to the construction plan reduces the risk for two reasons. Firstly, because the area where the train is being built has a lower karstification degree, and secondly because the infrastructure of the Mérida-Cancún highway reduces the uncertainty in the land’s behavior, where the fourth leg of the Maya Train will be built. 

This explains why this stretch was directly assigned to ICA, the company that also operates the highway. 

Furthermore, the Fonatur explains that the new route will reduce the connectivity time between Cancún and Mérida, two of the main locations in the Yucatán peninsula, by not passing through Cobá and the Riviera Maya before arriving at Cancún, reduces the route by 61 kilometers.

Reducing waiting times
The route between Cancún and the train stations in Yucatán could be reduced by up to an hour in routes that depart from Cancún and up to 40 minutes in routes to Cancún. 

Mexican authorities add that by modifying traveling times, they hope people will rely on the train to travel through the area. 

The daily demand in the Cancún-Mérida route increases to over 6,000 trips every day; in the Mérida-Cancún route, it increases by 5,200 trips every day.

Moreover, the modifications made to the project will reduce the traveling time to Chichén Itzá. The demand for the route would increase to 3,600 trips every day, in both directions.

With the modifications made to the fourth stretch of the Mayan Train, the route will pass through the Mérida-Cancún highway, which has four lanes and a length of 241.3 kilometers.

To continue developing the project, the Mayan Train will abide by an agreement with the current concession holder at the Kantunil-Cancún highway, Consorcio del Mayab, and ICA. The concession holder will be in charge of adapting the highway to build the train’s fourth stretch from Kantunil to Cancún, as well as the Izamal- Southern Cancún route.

What is the Mayan Train?
The Mayan Train, proposed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is a railway that will traverse the Yucatán Peninsula. The railroad would begin in Palenque, Chiapas and travel towards Cancún, Quintana Roo.

The project aims to connect tourist destinations in the Yucatán, including historic Mayan sites to boost tourism; however, Indigenous communities and environnement activities have opposed the project. 

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