Ipanema, underground


The concrete goes on

Para O “underground” de Ipanema, clique aqui

In the current runup to the second round of voting for governors and president here, one sometimes envies the ostrich.

So, on receiving an invitation to visit the Metrô construction site under the Praça Nossa Senhora da Paz, this blogger dallied not. Duly clad in boots, helmet and mask, down she went.


Fleeing the surface

There’s been a lot of controversy about Line 4, the extension of a subway line that now ends at Praça General Osório. Residents and business owners on Rua Barão da Torre complain about craters, tremors, cracks, cuts in cable TV, gas, water and electricity service, dust and noise.

Before the work began, issues such as where the line should run, the location of stations and the fate of the praça’s beautiful trees were hotly debated. Even now, there are doubts regarding ridership. Will the concessionaire be able to meet demand? Passengers on the new Transoeste BRT, a dedicated lane for articulated buses deal daily with crowding.  The problem has long existed in the São Paulo metrô system.

do lado de fora

Mystery, on the outside

Clearly, the state government knew exactly what it wanted to do.

In early 2012, the construction consortium closed Praça Nossa Senhora da Paz, a green area that held a special place in residents’ hearts. Just over two years later, a large portion of the square was reopened.

Crianças, pais, babás, idosos, cachorros retornam

Children, parents, nannies, seniors and dogs are back in the park

The work is happening, the trains are coming in from China, and it looks like the South Zone-Barra connection, whether or not in overcrowded cars, will be made incredibly quickly — in 15 minutes, it’s said (and from Barra to downtown, in 34 minutes) — in the first half of  2016. Just in time for the Olympic Games, set for August.

According to the concessionaire, Line 4 will take about 2,000 cars off the city’s streets at rush hour.


The “Tatuzão (Big Armadillo)” will come through at this spot in the tunnel, wher the last concrete is being laid

The Metrô is a state concession to the Invepar consortium, made up of the OAS construction company and the pension funds of the employees of the Banco do Brasil (Previ),Caixa Econômica Federal (Funcef) and Petrobras (Petros). Invepar also runs the Linha Amarela highway, the Ligação Transolímpica (an express bus lane linking Barra da Tijuca to Deodoro, where part of the Olympics will be held) and the new trolley line (VLT) set to link the port area to downtown Rio.


Work 24 hours a day

Line 4 is being built between Barra and Gávea by the consortium Rio Barra S.A., made up of Queiroz Galvão Participações – Concessões S.A., Odebrecht Participações e Investimentos S.A. and Zi Participações S.A. The first two are top Brazilian construction companies.

In the South Zone, the construction consortium is Linha 4 Sul (L4S), composed of the same companies.



The independent journalism site Pública  has reported on the power of construction companies in Rio de Janeiro and nationwide. The information provided is complex and difficult to wade through. The fact is that in this sector (and others), the country has a small number of companies — and not much competition. Apparently, this has led to controversial issues regarding contracts, the use of public monies and donations to political parties.

How might this be changed (At least one interesting case can be found in U.S. history)?

On the situation in Brazil, in the construction sector, see this article and this one.


Still a ways to go, but much has been accomplished

The underground visit in Ipanema offered evidence that we will have a bigger and better Metrô, as of 2016. Perhaps Barra will become more integrated with the South Zone, and  vice versa.


The tunnel, looking towards Barra

In the end it was good to return to the earth’s surface, remove mask, helmet and boots, and put aside the attractions of ostrich life. At this electoral moment — and after — it’s also good to pay close attention to the transformation of metropolitan Rio de Janeiro.


Archeological artifacts? In Leblon, workers found some interesting objects: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RE9dvJVFc0


A sad view, for praça regulars from before construction started. How will this look in 2016?

For more information on the construction work, see this link and this one.


About Rio real

American journalist, writer, editor who's lived in Rio de Janeiro for 20 years.
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