LISBON Metro has reached a new milestone in the construction of its Circular Line with the breakthrough of the tunnel that will connect the new Estrela and Santos stations.

Tunnel construction forms part of Lot 1 of the project to build a 2km connection between the existing Yellow Line’s southern terminus at Rato and the Green Line’s southwestern terminus at Cais do Sodré to provide a new circular route within central Lisbon, with two new stations. The overall aim of the project is to improve connectivity and accessibility across the city, as well as encouraging a modal shift away from the private car.

Tunnelling between Rato and the site of Estrela station was completed in May 2022, the same month in which the €73.5m contract for construction of Lot 2 of the Circular Line project, comprising tunnelling work between the new Santos and existing Cais do Sodré stations, was formally awarded to a joint venture of Mota Engil and Spie Batignolles International.

The new Estrela station will be located in front of the basilica of the same name, with access via six high-capacity lifts and two escalators.

The tunnel breakthrough was witnessed by Portugal’s minister of environment and climate action, Mr Duarte Cordeiro, secretary of state for urban mobility, Mr Jorge Delgado, and chairman of the board of directors of Lisbon Metro, Mr Vitor Domingues do Santos.

Part of a map of the future Lisbon Metro network showing the Circular Line, due to open in 2024, in green. The locations of Estrela and Santos stations can be seen bottom left and the expanded Campo Grande station top centre. Picture credit: RickMorais/Wikipedia Commons

There are two futher lots covering work to complete the Circular Line. Lot 3 comprises building new viaducts to extend Campo Grande station, currently an interchange between the Yellow and Green Lines and which, after completion of the new circular route, will form its most northerly point. Work on this lot began in January 2022.

Lot 4 is for finishing work and designing and implementing operating systems. The tendering process for this lot began in August 2021 and bids are still being assessed.

Opening of the Circular Line is expected in the fourth quarter of 2024. The project has a total cost of €331.4m, with €137.2m coming from the Portuguese government’s Environmental Fund, €103m from the EU Cohesion Fund via the Poseur sustainability and efficiency programme and €91.2m from the state budget.

It is estimated that the line will attract 9 million new passengers in its first year, increasing ridership on the metro network as a whole by 5.3% and removing 2.6 million private vehicles a year from the city’s roads while reducing annual CO2 emissions by 5000 tonnes.

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