The tunnel boring machine H2Oli, affectionately nicknamed H2Oli, is the star of this undertaking. With a length of 130 meters and a cutting head of 70 tons, this colossal machine, manufactured in China, will drill a five-kilometer tunnel from Monsanto to Santa Apolónia. The impressive depth of 70 meters highlights cutting-edge engineering, crucial for preventing floods like those in December 2022. Despite temporary constraints during construction, authorities are confident in the long-term benefits. The tunnel, scheduled for completion in July 2025, represents a total investment of 250 million euros. Carlos Moedas, an engineer by training, praises the courage of such impactful decisions, emphasizing the importance of Lisbon's preparation against climate change.
Santa Barbara, the patron saint of miners, takes on a new mission to ensure the safety of those guiding and following H2Oli. The blessing ceremony, held in a yard with a rustic altar, symbolizes divine protection during the challenge of excavating a tunnel under the city. The tunnel between Monsanto and Santa Apolónia is just one part of the plan, which includes another tunnel from Chelas to Beato.
Carlos Moedas, besides being a politician, highlights his past as an engineer leading this ambitious project. The tunnel not only prevents floods but also puts Lisbon at the forefront of adapting to climate change in Europe. Once in operation, the H2Oli tunnel boring machine will ensure the safety of citizens and infrastructure, solidifying the city as an example of preparation and resilience.
This initiative not only transforms Lisbon's urban geography but also shapes its future in the context of growing climate unpredictability. The Monsanto-Santa Apolónia tunnel is more than an engineering feat; it's a promise of a safer tomorrow for the Portuguese capital.