Monumental work will strengthen the main drainage system in the Valley of Mexico for the benefit of its 20 million inhabitants. Mexico City was originally built on an island in Lake Texcoco by the Aztecs in 1325 as Tenochtitlan, which was almost completely destroyed in the 1521 siege of Tenochtitlan, and subsequently redesigned and rebuilt in accordance with the Spanish urban standards. After achieving independence from Spain, the Federal District was created in 1824. The city has grown over the decades and expanded into the lake, and has therefore been facing the problem of flooding.

Deep drainage system for protection against storm water

Since pre-Hispanic times, people have been trying to find solutions to prevent and control the floods. A new solution was devised in 1967. The "Deep Drainage System", as reflected in the original project, consisted of two tunnels water receptors 5 m in diameter and 18 km in length, with a depth ranging from 30 to 50 m. The tunnels were 6.5 m in diameter and 50 km long were installed deep underground. The construction, considered by many to be "final", was commissioned in 1975.

Second system for doubled population

At present, the capacity of the drainage system in the metropolitan area is insufficient and has serious problems. Just compare its capacity in 1975 with what it has now, which is 30% lower with nearly double the population. The operating system for the pipes needs to be closed during the dry season months for repair and maintenance. This makes it necessary to have an alternating ability to maintain system operation throughout the year as the current sewage system is inadequate for the current needs of the Valley of Mexico.

East Tunnel to avoid flooding of the Valley of Mexico

Owing to flooding and to prevent this in future, the "East Tunnel” construction project is now being implemented in coordination with several Mexican governments. The work will expand the drainage capacity, thus avoiding flooding in the Valley of Mexico, reduce the risk of failure of the drainage system and implement a procedure to inspect the drainage without suspending its operation.

Sika Mexico is currently working together with the company ICA to develop the final coating, providing special solutions for the concrete required for this purpose. Superplasticizers Sika ViscoFlow®-10 and Sika ViscoFlow®-20 E are being used among other products to achieve a significantly enhanced slump retention without additional retardation and subsequent fast strength development. With this particular solution concrete is pumped up to 95 m deep and 1,000 m in length; the volume is approximately 230,000 m³. Sika Mexico also provides technical support on site and the project will contribute significantly to the development of Mexico’s mega-city.

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