ARGENTINA: Work to place the Sarmiento commuter route in Buenos Aires underground is expected to start in mid-2009, following the signature on December 23 of a contract between the federal government and the consortium of Iecsa, Odebrecht, Comsa and Ghella named as preferred bidder on January 23 2008. Costing 4·07bn pesos, the first 9·2 km section of tunnel between Caballito and Ciudadela is due to be completed within 36 months of contract signature.

With the international financial crisis making private finance unaffordable for the government, the project is now to be funded from public sources. These include federal social security agency Anses, which in return for its contribution is to receive land that will be made available for redevelopment by the project.

In total, 32·6 km of single-bore tunnel 11 m in diameter is to be built under the existing alignment between Caballito and Moreno. Phase 2 comprises Ciudadela - Castelar (9·4 km), with Castelar - Moreno (14·1 km) completing the project.