The line will run east from an interchange with the existing Metro South Line at Chico da Silva station in the city centre to Edson Queiroz with 12 stations, 11 of them underground, and is expected to carry around 400,000 passengers per day.

The total budget for the East Line, the largest public works project ever undertaken in Ceará, is Reais 3.5bn, including a fleet of 20 trains.

The state government says a works order is due to be signed by the end of this month, which will allow construction to begin. Two 6.9m-diameter TBMs have already arrived in the city and are being tested, while two more machines are currently being assembled in China.

With a population of 3.6 million, Fortaleza is the fifth-largest city in Brazil.