Thursday, July 12, 2007

The work goes on 

The new viaduct from Caracas to the coast has been operating for a couple of weeks now and I just recently saw a very nice picture of it:

I like this picture because it shows the bridge doing what the bridge is supposed to do; taking people between Caracas and the coast.

Last week the coast in Vargas had some of its biggest crowds ever during the July 5th holiday. And according to Ultimas Noticias taxi fares to the coast from Caracas have dropped 20%. So for one last time congrats to everyone involved in building it.

Of course, in the construction boom that Venezuela is currently enjoying no sooner does one project finish than another gets under way. Construction is about to get under way on the number 5 line of the Caracas Metro. The ceremonial shovel turned earth last December. But now the real work is about to begin.

The reason why is that this baby has now arrived in Venezuela:

This perforation machine, made in Germany, will excavate the 4 mile long subway line. It is about 17 feet in diameter, 300 feet long and weighs 310 tonns. It cuts through rock and places concrete sections of the subway wall all in one process. It uses positive air pressure to keep water and loose soil out until the concrete walls can be put in place. It can advance about 50 feet per day.

Once the first tunnel is well under way a second machine will be brought in to start work on the second tunnel that will go along side the first. This subway line will cost $1.2 billion which is being paid out of the National Development Fund (Fonden) and will carry 270,000 passengers daily when it is completed in 2012.

On more mundane public works it was announced that so far this year 24,000 houses have been built by the government for low income Venezuelans. That is about 30% of the target for the year which is 82,000.

Part of what has slowed down the construction of housing is that the country is literally short of many construction supplies. Of course, with construction of stadiums, schools, hospitals, dams, bridges and shopping malls going on all across the country this is to be expected. To help resolve a shortage of concrete the government has just brought in 5,000 tonns of it from Cuba. So now it should be full speed ahead for housing in the second half of the year.

Hope you enjoyed this update. I just wanted to show some of what the rest of the country was doing while a few malcontents where out throwing rocks at people.


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