AP

Mexico pledges to complete huge elevated train in one year

Dec 5, 2022, 4:56 PM | Updated: 5:02 pm

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s troubled Maya Train tourist project will now include a 45-mile (72 kilometer) stretch of elevated trackway through the jungle, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday.

López Obrador has changed his mind a number of times on his pet project, which is intended to ferry tourists around the Yucatan peninsula. The project was initially supposed to run on an elevated line over the coastal highway, where most hotels are.

But opposition from hotel owners led him to change the route by cutting a 68-mile (110-kilometer) swath through the jungle between the resorts of Cancun and Tulum.

That faces opposition from environmentalists who say the train will crush or contaminate the network of caves and sinkhole lakes around the resorts of Tulum and Playa del Carmen.

And engineers worried the fragile, cave-ridden limestone soil will collapse under the weight of the high-speed train. But the president now says two-thirds of the line won’t touch the ground.

Instead, it will be elevated on thousands of 80-foot (25 meter) pilings sunk into the stony soil, supporting pre-fabricate elevated sections eight feet (2.5 meters) above the ground.

“This will have a minimal effect, because where they sink the pilots is where there isn’t anything,” López Obrador said.

Activists rejected the idea that the engineers could avoid caves when they sink the support columns, or that the train won’t have any impact, noting millions of trees have already been clear-cut for the project.

“They do not have the technical ability to sink the columns where there are no caves, because they (the caves) are everywhere,” said Jose ‘Pepe’ Urbina, a diver who has explored the caverns for decades.

He said the construction was already contaminating the normally crystalline water that flows through the cave systems in the Yucatan, which has no surface rivers and depends largely on the underground water.

“It’s stupid to build a train on this soil, build a train in the middle of the jungle, build a train that pollutes the water,” Urbina said.

The latest change also raised doubts about whether such an elevated trackway — which López Obrador said will include a 260-foot (80 meter) suspension bridge over one particularly extensive cavern — can be completed as the president has promised within one year.

The 950-mile (1,500-kilometer) Maya Train line is meant to run in a rough loop around the Yucatan Peninsula, connecting beach resorts and archaeological sites.

Some of the oldest human remains in North America have been discovered in the sinkhole caves known as “cenotes” on the country’s Caribbean coast, which were often dry and frequented by humans as long as 13,000 years ago.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

2 days ago

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near...

Associated Press

Man accused of starting wildfire in national wildlife preserve in Yuma

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near the California border.

3 days ago

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Associated Press

Tribes say their future is at stake as they push for Congress to consider Colorado River settlement

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

5 days ago

Arizona doctors California abortions...

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

6 days ago

Father convicted of first-degree murder in northern Arizona...

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

A northern Arizona father was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

6 days ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Mexico pledges to complete huge elevated train in one year