Open call for bids, deadline 10th April, 2006 for project design, executive design and construction of a 7.09 km tunnel to place underground the Caballito-Liniers section and eliminate 31 level crossings between Liniers and Moreno. The project implies the construction of a 4-track tunnel for double-decker coaches. Refurbishment of the four existing stations in Caballito, Flores, Floresta and Villa Luro is also planned, rebuilding them below ground with a central platform between each pair of tracks to the same destination. The project is estimated to cost USD420 million, plus UDS175 million for the double-decker trains. The Sarmiento line is operated through a concession by Trenes de Buenos Aires (TBA) but the federal government will finance USD110 million and the winning company USD300 million. The award of the contract is scheduled for 1st September, 2006. Work will last three years. Visit www.boletinoficial.gov.ar/versionlibre/anexos/anexo-res82-09032006.pdf 11/06.The deadline to prequalify for the project design, executive design and construction with financing of a 7.09 km tunnel to place underground the Caballito-Liniers section and eliminate 31 level crossings between Liniers and Moreno on the Sarmiento line in Buenos Aires has been extended to 10th May, 2006. Click ar/22 for more info and visit www.transporte.gov.ar/licitaciones/sarmiento/prorroga_soterramiento.pdf 15/06.Three consortia have prequalified for placing underground the Sarmiento line. The three groups are: a consortium including Iecsa (Argentina), Odebrecht of Brazil, Comsa of Spain and Ghella of Italy; a group formed by Spain's Isolux Corsan and Esuco of Argentina; and Argentinian contractor Roggio. Bids will have to be submitted for 23rd August at the latest. The project is budgeted at USD400 million. Click ar/22. 23/06.The two prequalified consortia after assessment of the technical and financial offers for the first stage of the undergrounding of the Sarmiento line are as follows: Iecsa teaming up with Comsa, Odebrecht and Ghella on one side and Isolux Corsí¡n in partnership with Esuco on the other. This bidding process relates to engineering, executive design, construction and financing to place underground the Sarmiento railway line between Caballito and Moreno, including stage I Caballito-Liniers (Ciudadela), stage II Liniers (Ciudadela)-Castelar and stage III Castelar-Moreno. A TBM will be used. The project consists of a 7.1 km tunnel, approx. 11 m in diameter, running under the existing railway route. The tunnel will lie at an average depth of 22 metres to avoid obstacles like sewer mains, rain water and potable water pipes and other utilities or the relocation of public utilities. It will also minimise disruptions and reduce construction times. The tunnel will be bored in three subsequent stages: firstly the section between Caballito and Ciudadela stations, secondly from Ramos Mejía to Castelar and thirdly from Ituzaingí³ to Moreno. All the stations on the path will be constructed underground. The new line will allow trains every three minutes, thus increasing significantly passenger capacity and providing more comfortable double-decker carriages. 40/07.The first stage to bury the Sarmiento line between Caballito and Moreno has been commissioned to the Nuevo Sarmiento consortium, formed by the Argentine firm Iecsa, Brazil's Odebrecht, Comsa of Spain and Italy's Ghella, who submitted the low bid. The first section from Caballito to Ciudadela will take 36 months and cost ARS3,367 million. The Ministry of economy has now 60 days to prepare the contract and 10 more days to sign it. The first phase envisions the construction of 9,200 metres of tunnel, the ramps, six stations (Caballito, Flores, Floresta, Villa Luro, Liniers and Ciudadela) and a maintenance workshop. The tunnel will be 11 m in diameter and will be driven by a TBM. The new two-level underground stations will be 225 m long, 25 m wide and 22 m deep.Some 9.7 million passengers travel on the Sarmiento line per month and 370,000 per working day. The tunnel will increase ridership by 40%. The first phase forms part of a larger scheme to build 32.6 kilometres of tunnel under the existing tracks, between Caballito and Moreno, worth a total of ARS10,610 million. The second stage includes the construction of 9,400 metres of tunnel, from Ciudadela to Castelar, and the third phase 14,100 metres up to Moreno. Visit www.iecsa.com.ar, www.odebrecht.com, www.comsa.com and www.ghella.com 06/08.