Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spanish National Court Engineer also Demands Halt to TGV Tunnel Construction under the Sagrada Família

[Originally published in racócatalà on 8 June 2010]

He wants the construction to be halted in order to analyze if the current route is the "most appropriate" for the Sagrada Familia, since it creates an "unnecessary risk" for the temple

Only four days ago, we said that the Unesco had suggested modifying the route of the TGV tunnel that goes very near the Sagrada Familia and the Pedrera in Barcelona, and yesterday it was reported that the engineer from the Spanish National Court, who has to evaluate the risk of the construction, sent a letter to the judge in charge of the case, recommending that the construction be halted. Manel Melis, who is a railway and geotechnic engineer, and professor from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, considers it essential that the construction be stopped in order to analyze if the current route is the most appropriate for the Sagrada Familia, given the unnecessary risk that it creates for the temple.

In the text of the expert, dated May 26, it says "the most important thing is to see if there is an alternate route besides that which was chosen and to carefully study the motives for which the alternate was not chosen" and demands that "instructions be given to whomever necessary in order to stop the machines until further notice". In addition, it sidesteps responding to the 32 technical questions that are currently before the judge because in his opinion, it is necessary to first see if there is an alternative that does not risk any buildings in the city, in order to avoid events like that which happened in the neighborhood of El Carmel.

As a possible alternative, the Madrid-based engineer proposes studying the route that would bring the tunnel along Valencia and Consell de Cent Streets, a route that in its day had been looked at and discarded because it required either a change in Line 2 of the subway system or a turn radius not recommended for a high speed train. With respect to the protection screens recommended by the technicians from Unesco, Melis said that "sometimes they work and sometimes they don't" because "the calculation of subsidence (shifting of the earth) and estimates frequently fail".

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