New Bridge Delays Tren Maya Completion Date

During the excavations related to the construction of the Tren Maya, a handful of structures were discovered within caves in Quintana Roo. Photo: Courtesy 

Originally scheduled for completion in February, then delayed to April or May, Mexico’s Tren Maya (Mayan Train) project now faces a September target due to revised construction plans. The decision to use a cable-stayed bridge instead of concrete pilings to protect underground caverns along the Cancún to Tulum section of the 950-mile tourist route adds to the project’s delays.

The 75-mile Cancún to Tulum stretch has generated environmental controversy due to damage caused to fragile limestone caverns (cenotes) during the initial construction phase. Around 50 miles of viaduct are needed to navigate these geological formations.

Mexican President Andrés Manual López Obrador explained the change in plans during a Monday press conference. “We had a problem in a cave when putting up a column,” he said. “They made a scandal. We are already cleaning, repairing, and solving the problem.”

To avoid further damage, a 200-meter bridge will be built, causing further delays.

As pressure to accelerate construction along the route of the Mayan Train increased, so have construction-related accidents, both for workers and commuters. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

“It could have been drilled and the piles put in, but we said, ‘No, we are going to take care of this area,’ and that is why this bridge,” López Obrador added.

The president, whose term ends September 30th, pledged to visit the site every 15 days and vowed “by September, everything will be finished — all the stations, the depots to store trains, the facilities for workshops.”

Shortages Add to Challenges

The Tren Maya also faces equipment shortages. One hundred days after service began, only six of a planned 42 trainsets are operational, despite manufacturer Alstom’s promise of 25 by April. The limited fleet is strained, operating at 84% capacity while serving passengers, testing new tracks, and transporting López Obrador and his entourage for official ceremonies.

Alstom Mexico director Maite Ramos has reportedly been unavailable for comment.

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