São Paulo Diary: “Things Fall Apart. The Fura-Fila Cannot Hold”
Posted by Colin Brayton on April 1, 2008
If you are driving on the Greater São Paulo Viaduct … don’t ask why. Just duck. Note favelas in the background.
GROUCHO: Now, here is a little peninsula, and here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland. CHICO: Why a duck? GROUCHO: I’m all right. How are you? I say here is a little peninsula, and here’s a viaduct leading over to the mainland. CHICO: All right. Why a duck? Why a – why a duck? Why-a-no-chicken?
Após acidente, SP vai adiar inauguração do Expresso Tiradentes: The metro section of the Estado de S. Paulo on the latest infrastructure-related PR disaster here in the South American city so nice they named it twice.
SÃO PAULO – O trecho em que as obras do Expresso Tiradentes (antigo Fura-Fila) cederam, na noite de segunda-feira, 31, não será mais inaugurado no dia 18 de maio, como estava previsto no planejamento da São Paulo Transportes (SPTrans). A informação foi confirmada nesta terça-feira, 1, pelo prefeito Gilberto Kassab, durante visita ao local. O prefeito também prometeu que ainda nesta terça a SPTrans e o Consórcio Andrade Gutierrez-Carioca farão um laudo preliminar explicando as causas do deslizamento.
The portion of the Tiradentes Expressway (formerly known as the ["traffic-jam skipper"]) that collapsed on Monday evening will no longer be inaugurated on May 18, as planned by the São Paulo Transportation Authority (SPTrans). Mayor Kassab confirmed this today during a visit to the site. The mayor promised that SPTtrans and the Andrade Gutiérrez-Carioca Consortium would issue a preliminary report on the cause of the collapse.
This is a dedicated crosstown bus expressway that rusted for a decade or more after being proposed by Paulo Maluf and disposed by Malufist mayor (and now convicted felon) Celso Pitta (Harvard MBA, year unavailable).
Before being dusted off, given a fresh coat of paint, and set running by the current Mayor Quimby — much like the pharaonic Aguas Espraiadas causeway that, as a local wag says, conducts you safely and in high style from one infernal, eternal traffic jam on Roberto Marinho the Journalist Avenue to another one on the other side of the [unbelievably polluted] Pinheiros River.
Parte da estrutura do piso por onde circularão os ônibus do Fura-Fila cedeu no final da noite de segunda-feira, 31, sobre o Viaduto Grande São Paulo. Ninguém ficou ferido e nenhum veículo foi atingido, no entanto, a Prefeitura precisou fazer interdições no local. Segundo Kassab, do ponto de vista da engenharia, “houve um pequeno escorregamento. A peça foi escorregando devargarzinho até encostar no Viaduto”. A expectativa do prefeito é de que o local seja liberado para o trânsito atér as 17 horas. Dois guindastes ajudam nos trabalhos
Part of the structure of the roadway on which buses will circulate gave way late Monday night over the Grande Sâo Paulo Viaduct. No one was hurt and no vehicles were damaged, but the city had to close roadways at the scene. Kassab says that from an engineering point of view, “there was a slight slippage. The section was slipping slowly until it bumped up against the Viaduct.” His expectation is that the site will be opened to traffic by 5 p.m. Two cranes are assisting in the work.
Caso o relatório que deverá ser apresentado pela SPTrans aponte responsabilidade do consórcio no deslizamento, o prefeito afirmou que punirá as empresas. No entanto, ele disse que ainda não sabe que tipos de sanções podem ser aplicadas contra o consórcio. “Normalmente se fala vamos esperar o laudo, mas quero uma resposta hoje (nesta terça)”, falou o prefeito.
If the SPTrans report points to responsibility by the consortium for the slippage, the mayor says he will punish the firms. However, he said he does not yet know what kinds of sanctions are available. “Normally, we say let’s wait for the report, but I want an answer today,” the mayor said.
Segundo o diretor de infra-estrutura da SPTrans, Pedro Pereira Evangelista, o deslizamento não deveria ter acontecido. “Não é nenhum método revolucionário dessa construção. Todos já estávamos acostumados com esse tipo de obra. Nunca vi um desiquilíbrio desses. Não é comum nessas obras”, diz. O trecho que deveria ser entregue no dia 18 é de 2,8 quilômetros de extensão e foram gastos R$ 93 milhões na obra.
According to SPTrans infrastructure director, Pedro Pereira Evangelista, the slippage should never have happened. “There is no revolutionary construction method involved here.”
Translated loosely but perhaps more idiomatically: “This is not rocket science.”
We are all very accustomed to this type of project. I have never seen anything so out of kilter. This is not something that often happens in this type of project,” he said. The section to have been delivered on May 18 is 2.8 km long, and R$93 million have been spent on the project.
How big is the engineering fubar here? I am always impatient with coverage of such stories that do not get an engineer to comment on them.
When the Yellow Line excavations failed to meet up by a couple of meters earlier last year, it was hard for a layman to know how a big a problem it was.
Lots of people with no engineering credentials issued lots and lots of opinions about the matter. Gabbling into any available open make. Yada yada yada.
Then we found out: Project delivery delayed by a year. I guess it was pretty serious.
I do not vote here, so I try to stay out of political debates.
Still, I have to say, this Kassab guy strikes you as just a complete and utter bozo. (His poll numbers suggest the local voters tend to think so, too. My informal survey of cab drivers also suggests that Hizzoner would do better not to take cabs. They seem to really, really hate the guy. Even the Malufists.)
If his extravagant attempt to kick the ass, on live TV, of a man protesting the city’s billboard ban — and his crude joke about love motels and the collapse of the Yellow Line station at Pinheiros (our neighborhood) while being interviewed during a shakedown tour of the Return of the Fura-Fila, also televised — were not enough … well, the list is a long one.
(His brother heads new projects at the subway authority, and another brother is at SPTrans, I think I read. That sort of thing. Vote for one Quimby and get the whole Quimby clan, with their sleeves rolled up, wearing hard hats, pointing fingers at blueprints, in campaign ads running in an infinite prime-time loop, on Globo, outside the time alloted for campaign advertising, and yet no one complains to the elections tribunal.)
The Agência Estado had the best, most succinct, most practical report on the incident (which received scant coverage, despite the fact that the Viaduct was shut down in both directions all the livelong freaking day), I thought. Including alternative routes:
O motorista que trafega pela avenida do Estado e busca acesso a Avenida Luís Ignácio de Anhaia Mello pelo Viaduto Grande São Paulo tem como opções a avenida das Juntas Provisórias, o Viaduto Gazeta do Ipiranga e a rua Capitão Pacheco e Chaves.
If you are driving Av. do Estado and want to access Av. [some guy's very long name] using the Viaduct [overpass], you can take [the aptly-named] Juntas Provisórias, the Gazeta do Ipiranga, or Capt. Pacheco St.
Quite obviously a Communist plot to damage the political reputations of those who presided over this project for a decade without getting it done.