While the eyes of the world were turned to Sao Paolo on Thursday night for the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, some significant developments were taking place 400km along the coast in Rio de Janeiro.
On 11 June, the Rio 2016 Organising Committee announced an important milestone for the construction of Line 4 of Rio's metro service, a key infrastructure project for the upcoming Games. The first 400 metres of track have now been laid in the tunnel joining Barra da Tijuca and São Conrado, which will connect the Olympic Park with the rest of Rio de Janeiro.
Covering a total distance of 16km, the longest individual subway section in the world will have 1,100 sections of track, each 18 metres long. The new line will not only link the Olympic Park with Ipanema in the south zone, but also provide Rio residents with connections to Copacabana, the city centre and the north zone.
The project has been accelerated in order to be completed in time for the 2016 Games, and will see another 300 metres of track laid each week. Once opened, Line 4 will serve “300,000 passengers per day” according to Rodrigo Vieira, from the state government's special projects department, and reduce the number of vehicles on the road by an estimated 2,000 per hour during peak times.
Six new stations will integrate with the existing metro Lines 1 and 2, shortening travel time from Barra to Ipanema to just 15 minutes, and from Barra to the city centre to just 34 minutes.