One year late, the urban mobility work for the World Cup in Natal should finally start in June.
Planned as part of the Urban Mobility PAC and also established in the Responsibility Matrix as agreed in 2010 between the Federal and the State Governments, Natal City Hall and FIFA, this work includes structural revamping of some city roads, such as the connection between the new airport and the Arena das Dunas, and the hotel segment, and also the extension of an important roadway in the Capital of Rio Grande do Norte, which is Prudente de Moraes Avenue.
According to this matrix, the work should have been completed by November 2012. With the delay, however, the time frame has now been extended to the end of 2013. The technicians of Natal City Hall say that “red tape” is to blame for the postponements.
According to the Secretary for Public Works and Infrastructure of the municipality, Dâmocles Trinta, the executive project of the first intervention area is nearing completion.
This work includes the Urbana complex (which is one of the busiest access routes in the North-South direction) and also the restructuring of Capitão Mor-Gouveia Avenue (going from East to West). The tender was won by the company EIT.
The second area of work comprises miscellaneous intervention projects close to the Arena das Dunas. This work is expected to start only in October.
Out of the total of 16 work projects that have been approved by the Federal Government, 11 are the responsibility of the local City Hall, which will receive a total of R$ 300 million from the Federal Savings Bank (Caixa Econômica Federal – CEF) and will provide the remaining R$ 38 million with municipal funds.
Another five structural projects approved by the Federal Government will be constructed by the State Government of Rio Grande do Norte: three along the Ponta Negra Road (construction of viaducts and tunnels), one along the road link between the new airport in São Gonçalo do Amarante and the Arena das Dunas, and the extension of Prudente de Moraes Avenue to the BR-101 motorway, which will allow the connection between Augusto Severo Airport (Parnamirim) and the Arena das Dunas.
According to the State Secretary for the World Cup, Demétrio Torres, the work on Prudente de Moraes Avenue has already started. “It is still necessary to construct two level crossings on the BR-101”. The Invitation to Bid for the completion of this work will be launched over the next few days.
There will also be two intervention projects on the BR-304 and BR-406 roads, access links between the new airport and the Arena das Dunas, According to Mr. Torres, the work on the Ponta Negra Road are nearing the end of the study phase.
According to the traffic engineering specialist Enilson Santos, a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal currently has one car for every four people, there being more than 312 thousand vehicles in the city.
In his opinion, as co-coordinator of the Transport Engineering Department at UFRN, a set of solutions needs to be implemented so that the chaotic traffic in Natal can be solved.
In the short term, there should be a mapping of the road network with intervention at strategic points. In the medium term, guarantee the infrastructure work within the PAC. For the future, a solution would be that of investing in public transport, particularly rail transport, including surface metro systems or light rail systems.
“At least the major North-South corridor is in dire need of intervention based on rail transport”, he says.
For Mr. Santos, the World Cup projects are important but do not solve the traffic problem in Natal. “Traffic does not get solved by itself”, he says. The specialist also says that Natal needs to implement a tenfold increase in the number of bus corridors currently existing in the city.
Aside from punctual interventions in traffic organization, the professor also remembers the Via Livre project, which was implemented two years ago by the City Hall to organize car parking along the main roads of the city. “However, there is a lack of project management.”
Work projects and time frames as established in the Responsibility Matrix
Work Start Completion
Axis 1: Integration between New Airport/Arena das Dunas/Hotel June 2010 November 2012
Axis 2: Implementation of Prudente de Moraes Road December 2010 July 2011
Source: Ministry for Sports/Responsibility Matrix