ARGENTINA: Transport Minister Guillermo Dietrich joined head of the city government Horacio Rodríguez Larreta on June 8 to mark the start of work on a new 5 km elevated alignment for the San Martín commuter route in Buenos Aires.

Replacing a surface alignment between Palermo and La Paternal stations which has 11 level crossings, the viaduct will incorporate nine underbridges, two of which will be for pedestrian use only. According to the Ministry of Transport, this will benefit the 170 000 passengers using the San Martín route each day, as well as the 250 000 bus passengers and 260 000 car drivers currently experiencing delays of up to 20 min at the crossings.

Under the government’s US$14bn investment programme for the Buenos Aires commuter network, the 70 km San Martín route is to be electrified and equipped with Automatic Train Stop. This would enable the peak frequency to be increased from a train every 10 min to every 4 min 30 sec.

San Martín services currently terminate at Retiro, which is to be connected to Plaza Constitución under the Buenos Aires RER programme involving the construction of 20 km of new tunnels. With tendering for the first phase launched last week, ‘it is already starting to become reality’, said Dietrich.