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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Paso Deprimido: New, improved underpass to reopen in July

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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.
Several shifts of construction crews have been working 24/7 since May to fix the flood-prone underpass. Photo: Courtesy

Mérida’s city hall has announced that the Paso Deprimido underpass  — literally the “depressed step” — will reopen in mid-July.

The underpass was flooded in June 2020 after a particularly severe tropical storm season and has remained closed ever since. 

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

Despite the heavy rains the city has experienced during the last week, interim Mayor Alejandro Ruz Castro says that construction is proceeding on schedule. 

“The water table is still high but has dropped considerably since last year. This has allowed crews to continue working on this important infrastructure project,” said Ruz Castro.

Earlier: Yucatán’s first tropical storm of 2021 likely on its way this week

But skepticism remains regarding the viability of the underpass. 

“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. 

The paso deprimido has been a hot topic ever since it was first built in 2011 during the tenure of Mayor Angélica Araujo. Construction cost the city 64.4 million pesos and tens of millions in associated maintenance costs.

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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