Chemax protestors barricade Mayan Train construction site

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Locals in Chemax complain of broken promises and endangerment from the construction of the Mayan Train. Photo: Courtesy

Residents in Chemax, Yucatán, have brought nearby construction of the Mayan Train to a halt by barricading surrounding roads.

“We were promised there would be no deforestation, but just look around. We were promised infrastructure like a bicycle lane and an overpass… but the government seems to have conveniently forgotten all about that,” said José Dolores Canché Rodríguez, Chemax’s ejido representative.

Locals also complain about noise, pollution, and accidents caused by heavy-load trucks barreling through the community at high speeds. 

Representatives from the federal government say that they are ready to talk. But according to residents, the terms of the construction were signed back in 2021 and there is nothing to discuss until the state fulfills their part of the bargain. 

This is not the first time that people affected by the Mayan Train route have come out to impede construction, but the blockade in Chemex does appear to be the largest.

It is no secret that work on the Mayan Train is behind schedule. But how far behind construction really is, or if the project can be finished by the end of López Obrador’s term, is unclear.

Earlier: Mexico has no plan to undo environmental devastation from Mayan Train project

Map of the Mayan Train rail network and a list of planned stops and stations. Photo: Courtesy

“Honestly, we are looking at somewhere between eight and 10 more years. The thing is that this should not come as a surprise as it’s what we have known since the beginning. We had auditors come from Spain and that’s the timeline they gave us,” said an anonymous source close to Yucatán Magazine during a recent interview

This is despite recent claims by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who recently made a flyby of the area and declared the project over 50% complete. 

Since its inception, the project has been controversial. Arguments against the rail project range from the social and environmental, to the economic and logistical.

Works along the construction route have also been blamed for several accidents resulting in serious injury and even fatalities. 

Serious accidents on the Mérida-Cancún toll highway have become more common since the construction of Phase 4 of the Mayan Train began. Photo. Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

The most recent of these occurred just yesterday when a bread delivery truck was forced to veer off road to avoid hitting a vehicle transporting construction material. 

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