THE Uruguayan government has extended a deadline to complete the Central Railway project to May 23 2023 from September 2022.
The project to rehabilitate the 273km line linking the port in the capital Montevideo with Paso de los Toros, where Finnish paper producer UPM is building a new pulp mill, has experienced delays with land expropriation and errors in the estimates of soil movements. Around four-times more land was required than planned, which meant that the line was only 30.6% complete at the turn of the year compared with the objective of 50.6%.
“Due to the current state of progress of works and taking into account their special impact on other projects and contracts, it is considered timely and convenient to proceed to extend the contractual term,” says Mr Luis Alberto Heber, Uruguay’s minister of transport and public works.
UPM says it will open the new mill on schedule in September 2022 but will use lorries to move goods until the railway is complete.
Ground was broken on the project in May 2019. The line is set to be double-track for the first 26km from Montevideo and single track thereafter with 12 passing loops. The infrastructure will accommodate 22.5-tonne axleloads and a maximum line speed of 80km/h for freight trains. The line will also be used by passenger trains between Montevideo and 25 de Augusto and will be equipped with ERTMS Level 1.
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