On Monday, the construction of the tunnel connecting Barcelona to France via Spain’s high speed AVE train finally reached its controversial pit-stop under the Sagrada Familia. While the completion sounds great, not everyone’s celebrating.
At just 200 meters away and eight stories deep, for some this tunnel is just too close to the Gaudi’s historical Catholic church for comfort, but for the transportation department the engineers it’s a huge accomplishment. In the last two years the construction to extend the AVE line with the route running uncomfortably close to one of Barcelona’s most treasured relics was understandably held up in red-tape. Doubters felt that burrowing a tunnel for trains running upwards of 190 mph could possibly cause structural damage to the Sagrada Familia and an alternate route should be considered. However the only alternative presented was a tunnel running under the sea and along the coast, which was vetoed for its costs.
For now, all seems well. The UNESCO World Heritage site is still standing and still packing in visitors. Hopefully, those smarty pants engineers have figured out a way to keep the rumble and vibration of the AVE from shaking up Sunday mass once the track opens.
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