As the West-East tramline project reaches the half-way point in its scheduled works, we look back on its progress, and the key milestones for the future.
If you have visited Nice over the summer you will have noticed the Boulevard Victor Hugo tram route taking shape, with the form of stations appearing at Garibaldi and Alsace Lorraine. As the project comes to life, it is difficult to imagine a time before the west-east tramway’s inception; an impressive amount has been achieved so far.
The new line, as the name suggests, cuts across Nice from west to east (or east to west, if you like). The tunnel will pass from Nice Port underneath the Old Town to Garibaldi, following onto Durandy (adjacent to Place Wilson). There will also be a stations located at Jean Medecin (where it intersects with the line 1), and at Alsace Lorraine (the garden in Musiciens) before the line remerges above ground at Grosso. From here it will continue towards the airport, running parallel to the Promenade des Anglais.
The West-East tramline project began almost two years ago in October 2013. On the east-side the archaeological excavations and evaluations in preparation for the underground work began, while over in the west, engineers took on the challenge of developing the St. Augustine railway bridge, along with the analysis of demolition works and longterm diversion networks.
Moving into November 2013; contracts were drawn up and following a public procurement procedure, both the tunnel and under ground station engineering construction were awarded to TBM of the Thaumasia Group, led by construction giant Bouygues TP- a name you may recognise, they are also one of the biggest mobile phone networks in France. In typical French style it only took four months, until February the following year, for the contracts to be signed.
In April 2014 the civil engineers were put to work and the plans for the underground tunnel and stations were drawn. The excavation of the tunnel began back in September 2014. By spring 2015, the maintenance and development strategy for the tram service had been completed by the local government body, the CADAM Nikaia.
April of this year saw work commence on the Square Durandy station, just a few streets away from the Pebbles office at 20 Rue de l’Hotel des Postes. September saw engineers starting on the new place Garibaldi station.
What does the future hold? Well the Metropole de Nice has set out clear targets for the next two years.
The project milestones are as follows:
- December 2015: assembly of the input shaft for the tunnel begins
- End 2015: engineering of the Jean Medecin and Victor Hugo stations begins, along with the construction of the St. Augustine’s rail bridge
- April 2016: the digging of the tunnel by boring machine commences
- 2015/2017: construction of the above ground rails and the tramway maintenance centre begins
- 2018: The West-East line is commissioned into active service
The implementation of the tramway project has already shown to be a head-turner for investors on the Riviera. When up and running, the line will reduce the journey time from Nice Port to the Airport to just 26 minutes. Look out for our in-depth analysis of the tramway’s impact on Nice property investment, coming to the Pebbles blog January 2016.