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Flooded Prolongación underpass will take weeks to fix

Cenote saturates and damages Merida's controversial 'paso deprimido'

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The underpass on the Prolongacíon remains flooded days after Storm Cristobal blew over. Photo: Diario de Yucatan

Merida, Yucatan — Tropical Storm Cristobal flooded the Prolongacíon de Paseo Montejo underpass and nearly a week later no one has fixed the problem.

Drivers are forced to take side roads to take the main artery from the north to the city center, although a single lane may be open in about a week, according to City Hall.

The “paso deprimido,” or “depressed passage,” built around 10 years ago amid much controversy, tunneling under the “Burger King Circle” in Col. Mexico. From the beginning, drainage was a challenge for the project, which sits a few meters above the natural water table. Now cracks have appeared in the structure, city officials said, after underground water rose and broke the road surface.

Once the water level has subsided, repairs can begin, said the head of the public works department. The water appears crystalline because it flowed from an underground cenote.

Roads everywhere were ripped apart by the storm, which drenched Yucatan with 40% of the rain normally seen here in an entire year.

Merida Mayor Renán Barrera Concha estimated that repairs throughout the city will require up to 80 million pesos, which would require a loan from state lawmakers because the city is running at a nearly 500-million-peso deficit since the coronavirus crisis.

The underpass won’t be back to normal for at least two weeks, he told a reporter.

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