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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

New delays and ‘unforeseen’ rains delay the reopening of the paso deprimido

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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.
Just a few days away from its completion deadline, engineers working for the city have announced that the reopening of Mérida’s paso deprimido underpass will be pushed back again. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Who could have possibly foreseen rain during the rainy season? Certainly not the people in charge of fixing the paso deprimido.

Repairs to the flooded Glorieta de la Paz underpass, which were scheduled for completion in late July, have now been pushed back another month.

While initial estimates for repairs to the paso deprimido were just north of 9.5 million pesos, the current budget calls for 30 million — over three times as much.

Contractors at Sacbé Construcciones blamed the recent rains for abandoning the original schedule. 

Although Mérida has experienced some heavy downpours in the past month, none of them have been so severe as to fall under the category of “unexpected.” Yucatán is in the middle of its rainy season.

The underpass was flooded in June 2020 after a particularly severe tropical storm season and has remained closed almost ever since. After the closure, city hall said repairs would take several weeks, which have now stretched into well over a year

The paso deprimido first flooded in June 2020, but green waters remained stagnated there well into winter. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Earlier: Yucatán has lost over half of its jungle

To avoid flooding in the future, the city has decided to elevate its road surface by one meter and apply a special layer of weatherproof coating.

The tunnel’s price tag, including repairs and maintenance costs, now exceeds 130 million pesos / US$6.5 million.

Signs placed atop the underpass announce that repairs are ongoing, but Mérida drivers are starting to lose their patience. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

The paso deprimido, has been a hot topic ever since it was first built in 2011 during the tenure of Mayor Angélica Araujo.

“This whole thing does not make any sense and it never did. I am no civil engineer but mark my words, this thing is going to flood again,” a Mérida resident, Emmanuel Robles, commented on Facebook.

Before its closure, the tunnel — which runs underneath one of the city’s busiest intersections — accommodated approximately 47,000 vehicles a day. Its closure made traffic significantly worse.

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