22Km

of tunnels

improves the quality of life of the inhabitants of Quito

22 km of tunnel that will constitute Quito's first metro line, in Ecuador.

ACCIONA, through the Line 1 Quito Metro Consortium, is executing Phase II of the first line of the Ecuadorian capital's metro. The project will connect the South, Centre and North of the city in 34 minutes, with 18 six-carriage trains. These will transport up to 400,000 people a day, energising the passenger transport system of the city of Quito. This is a local and national priority project, which will improve mobility, productivity and quality of life for the inhabitants of Quito, the surrounding area and the country in general.

 

The route of the first line of the Ecuadorian capital's underground runs between the current bus terminal of Quitumbe in the south of the city to the station of El Labrador in the north, with 13 new stations that are being added to the two already built by ACCIONA, making 15 stations in total.

 

The project will result in fuel savings of US 50 million per year due to these improvements to the urban transport infrastructure, with a consequent reduction of 67,000 tonnes of CO2, as well as the creation of 32,700 jobs per year.

The work is 22.9 km total in length, of which 0.16 km is open air and 19.49 km is a tunnel executed by 3 EPB-type tunnellers, with an excavation diameter of 9.4 metres.

It includes:

  • 15 stations, all of them executed via cut and cover
  • 28 ventilation, pumping and emergency exit wells spread throughout the route
  • Workshop shed, located at the southern end of the line.
  • 45.5 km of lines,
  • Architecture, decoration, illumination, supply and sanitation of stations, lighting, replacement of services and traffic detours
  • Preventive terrain treatments to minimise the effect on the environment.
  • Escalators, lifts, PCL facilities, and concourse ventilation equipment.

In addition, the highest productivity levels for machines of this type have been recorded, breaking the world record after drilling 1,489.5 metres in just 30 days.

General Information

  • Location:Quito. Ecuador
  • Contract type:Construction 
  • Infraestructure:22-km tunnel, 13 new stations, garages, workshops and railway facilities necessary for commissioning.
  • Year of project completion: 2021

Key aspects

Technology and innovation

IMPLEMENTATION OF GEO-RADAR IN THE QUITO METRO

In this project, a non-destructive inspection technique using geo-radar has been implemented, focusing on the following applications:

  • Identifying affected services: Inspections were carried out from the surface along the entire route (20 km), at accessible points, to identify different buried elements such as foundations, sewers, pipes, electricity lines, etc., to a depth of approximately 6 m. The main goal of this activity was to characterise the hydraulic sewers present along the route, susceptible to damage by the decompression of the soil as the tunneller passes by.
  • Inspecting well reinforcements: The aim of this inspection was to detect the presence of water in well reinforcements to evaluate the effectiveness of the ground treatments carried out to waterproof the land and to avoid surges of water into the wells.
  • Quality control of the bi-component mortar injection process in the keystone reinforcements. In the Quito Metro, a validation criterion was developed, based on analysing the speed of propagation of the radar wave in the space between the keystone and the ground, to establish the suitability of the mortar injection process. This criterion makes it possible to determine the thickness of the mortar gap, whether the mortar has been properly injected and the presence of holes or water in the keystone reinforcements. This quality control has been carried out on 2,300 rings, which is a rate of 1 for every 5 rings. This has been a pioneering experience globally at the production scale, and will be replicated in future ACCIONA Construction business tunnelling projects.

    Some examples of the social initiatives developed for the metro project in Quito are:

    • Agreements with traders to boost the local economy.
    • The implementation of an education plan on social and environmental responsibility, using an underground train carriage to show micro-theatre plays.
    • Summer camp for employees' children focused on improving gender equality, self-esteem and equality.
    • Projects to eradicate child labour in Ecuador.
    • Educational plays to promote sustainable transport in schools, among others.

    Environmental impact management

    The Quito Metro Line 1 project has been undertaken in the dense urban centre of Quito, Ecuador, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is regulated by strict environmental and archaeological requirements. The tunnellers passed through the historic centre of the city without damaging the cultural heritage. ACCIONA managed these challenges by implementing an environmental management system that complies with ISO 14001, and developing and implementing environmental and archaeological plans.

    Archaeological and geo-radar studies were conducted to determine areas requiring additional protection and research before digging out the metro station. Excavation plans included the mapping, individual coding, removal, storage and, finally, re-installation of 107,695 paving stones covering the square.

    At the same time, the project has encouraged the reduction, reuse and recycling of materials and waste generated during the work. Leftover wood has been handed over to the community for various activities: carpentry, guitar making, furniture and wood ovens for panela making. Similarly, tyres have been donated for school projects and plastics have been given to recycling associations working in collaboration with the Quito Metropolitan Public Waste Company.

    The construction of the Quito metro has been a local example in the protection of trees located inside the construction sites and an opportunity to learn about the transplanting of several species. More than 100 trees have been transplanted, whilst the transplantation of heritage trees in El Ejido and La Alameda parks has been avoided in accordance with the original designs.

    Social impact management

    As regards the social impact management, a social baseline study was carried out, considering socio-economic, cultural, political and demographic features, among others, to measure the project's potential impacts on society.

    In some cases, measures have been carried out that do not aim to mitigate, but to improve some process in which ACCIONA can bring added value to society, thus giving rise to positive impacts of our activity. In other words, actions are designed that are aligned with the needs of those that generate the greatest possible benefit to the community.

    Experience

    The machine that even Jules Verne was unable to imagine

    The technological evolution of tunneling machines, which accelerated at the end of the 19th Century and finally took off in the first half of the 20th, contributed greatly to the expansion of land transport worldwide. The excavation of tunnels to break through mountain ranges or circumvent difficult passes facilitated the ferrying by rail and road of passengers and freight, with their subsequent social and economic benefits...

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