Madrid (EFE).- The global difficulties in transport and energy have been the causes of the delay in the arrival of the AVE to Asturias which, driven by “an excess of optimism”, had been set for May, as recognized on Thursday the president of ADIF María Luisa Domínguez.
Now it is expected that the completion of the Pajares tunnel works will be ready in February, giving way to the technical and safety tests, which will lead to the feasibility of setting a deadline for the completion of the infrastructure next April .
The Asturian Minister of Rural Affairs and Territorial Cohesion, Alejandro Calvo, met this morning at the headquarters of the Ministry of Transport in Madrid with the president of ADIF (Administrator of Railway Infrastructures) to receive explanations for the delay.
He too has acknowledged an excess of optimism, but has added that “there is a disappointment and we need an explanation”.
Last June the president of the Principality of Asturias, the socialist Adrián Barbón, announced that the Pajares tunnel, 25 kilometers under the Cantabrian Mountains, would allow the arrival of the AVE to Asturias, after an investment of more than 4,000 million euros, in May 2023.
Barbón made the announcement after meeting with the Minister of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez.
But now a new delay has emerged in a work of colossal dimensions that already accumulates many others, which has been underway since 2004 and which, according to Barbón himself, “constitute a historical demand of the Asturian people.”
Beyond the technical details in the largest civil work in the history of Spain, the president of ADIF has pointed to the blockade of international trade derived from the pandemic, with the consequent delays in supplies and the subsequent rise in raw materials, aggravated by the Ukrainian war, with consequent difficulties for contractors, as the causes of the delay.
As for the safety tests, he specified that “self-protection and evacuation is especially difficult in the tunnel, which is followed by others that are also very long, with a stretch of 50 kilometers.”
“We are working with the operator in all aspects, including the drills with train drivers, we are collaborating with the Civil Protection service in Asturias”, he also explained, before pointing out that this drill is unprecedented in our country.
“Disappointment does not have to lead us to be unreasonable, this is the largest civil work in the history of our country, it is logical to assume great levels of uncertainty”, explained the counselor, who explained that the commissioning of the track for February, when it was scheduled for December, has delayed everything.
“It is time to re-locate Asturian society, surely we will have to wait a few months, but we are going to do everything possible to make it happen as soon as possible,” he promised.
For her part, the president of ADIF explained that “the duration of the three-hour trip between Madrid and Oviedo would be at maximum speeds and without stops, although its actual development is a function of factors that depend on the operators.”
“The entry into service of Pajares represents an unprecedented leap in terms of safety in Spain, the road will be much less exposed to inclement winter weather and will be equipped with the most advanced systems,” he added. EFE