Cuba Culture

Havana pumping out tunnels in Vedado

Posted October 29, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Culture.

BY GABRIEL DAVALOS | [url=][/url] daily staff writer

SINCE dawn on Wednesday, October 26, engineers’ units of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), supported by brigades from several construction contingents, have been collecting debris and cleaning up Havana’s seafront highway and boardwalk, the Malecon.

Repair work was concentrated on 13 points between Manrique Street, in the Central Havana neighborhood, and Calzada in El Vedado. It also includes reestablishing a bridge that was affected in the same area.

Most of the damage is along northbound section of the Malecon, where the sea water lifted up asphalt and pieces of sidewalk and knocked down part of the wall.

The troops arrived at dawn to begin their mission. Second Lieutenant Eliecer Barbán Garces, of a FAR engineers’ unit, began demolition and debris cleanup duties along with his soldiers at 8:00 a.m. in front of the Ameijeiras Hospital. “When we got here, we reviewed the area to organize our work and then began,” he said.

The FAR engineers’ units, along with brigades from the Blas Roca, Raúl Roa and Compaña de Las Villas contingents, and forces from Construction Enterprise No. 5 of the Ministry of Construction, were planning to work 24 hours around the clock until the Malecon can be opened to traffic again.


Almost 12 hours after works to drain sea water from the Línea tunnel, FAR troops, supported by the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources and the Ministry of Construction, had extracted more than 6,000 cubic meters of water from a total of 28,000.

Extraction work on the Fifth Avenue tunnel began a few hours later. It was decided to prioritize Línea because the Malecon was still closed to traffic, and opening up Línea would relieve some of the traffic congestion between the municipalities of Playa and Plaza de la Revolucion, according to Brigade General Miguel Otero Alvarez, MINFAR command chief.

The capacity for extraction in the Línea area is 1,500 cubic meters per hour, with 11 motorized pumps chugging away fulltime, while 500 cubic meters per hour were being pumped out of the Fifth Avenue tunnel.

It was not certain exactly when both tunnels would be empty. Forces involved in the work, dubbed Operation Aurora, have proposed completing it in much less time than that required after the Storm of the Century in 1993.

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