Governor Geraldo Aickman, Secretary of State for Metropolitan Transportation (STM), Juarandir Fernandes, and Sao Paulo Metro president Sergio Avelleda have officially started construction of the second phase of the Sao Paulo Line Four (Yellow).

This phase includes a 1.5km tunnel drive for station access at Vila Sonia. Contracts for operating systems have yet to be put out to tender. The whole cost of the Line Four (Yellow) project now stands at USD 5.6bn according to the metro company including USD 1.8bn to complete the second phase.

The second phase includes five stations and is due for completion in 2014. At that time usage is estimated to be one million passengers a day.

A third phase is planned to extend the line from Vila Sonia Taboao station to the city of Serra over approximately 4.8km.

Line Four, which is entirely underground, is unusual in that it is being operated under a renewable 30-year PPP agreement by the ViaQuatro consortium, of which the construction group Camargo Correa holds 54 per cent, and also operates automated driverless trains. Phase One was fully opened, including late stations, in March 2011. The project is financed by the World Bank. Project management on both phases is by Finnish contractor Poyry, while local practice Companhia do Metro will continue to monitor the operation.

Other current metro construction projects include the extensions of Line Five (Purple) and Line Two (Green). Work will soon begin on Line 17 (Gold) to Congonhas Airport, the contract having been signed.

The STM investment plan for 2011-2014 amounts to USD 26.2bn. By 2014 the Sao Paulo Metro is expected to exceed 100km in length, much of which is underground, in addition to the 300km of CPTM Metroferroviaria lines.

The whole construction work on Line Four is reported to be under investigation, according to the Sao Paulo government, within ‘Operation Sand Castle’ carried out by the Brazil Federal Police.