the collapse A metro overpass in Mexico City last month that killed 26 people was caused by a series of defects during construction, according to preliminary results of an independent investigation.
The results could deal a blow to Foreign Minister and presidential candidate Marcelo Ebrard, who was the mayor of the capital when the line was built, and Carlos Slim, the richest man in Mexico, whose the company Carso Infrastructure and Construction built the infrastructure.
Slim, one of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s closest businessmen, is also building part of the President’s flagship mayan train in the Yucatán peninsula.
According to the report by the Norwegian group DNV, made public at a press conference on Wednesday, the accident was caused by “structural flaws linked to failures in the construction process”.
They included missing studs, the use of a type of concrete incompatible with the original design, among other discrepancies, and a poorly executed weld.
A spokesperson for Carso did not immediately comment. Slim’s son-in-law and spokesperson Arturo Elías said he would not comment until the investigation was completed.
Claudia Sheinbaum, mayor of Mexico City, stressed that the conclusions regarding the “terrible tragedy” were preliminary. DNV plans to release two more rounds of results, on July 14 and August 30.
She said a commission of experts would present a rehabilitation plan within a month. It would be up to the city’s attorney general to determine responsibility for the accident, she added.
López Obrador lamented the accident but mentionned “The poor, the workers, the good people” in the area where the viaduct collapsed “understand that these things unfortunately happen”.
Before the release of the preliminary findings on Wednesday, he expressed his support for Sheinbaum, who is widely regarded as his preferred candidate to succeed him as president.
The elevated section of metro line 12, dubbed the “Golden Line”, collapsed without warning on a busy road about five meters lower on the night of May 3 in a southeastern suburb of the capital.
The line of one of the busiest metro services in the world has been plagued by problems, including premature wear of train wheels and rails, since it opened in 2012.
It was inaugurated by Ebrard in the last months of his term as mayor. Criticism of its design and construction emerged shortly after Ebrard left, and the auditor’s office alleged there had been cost overruns, irregularities and shoddy work.
The line was partially closed in 2014-15 to fix what authorities at the time characterized as structural flaws. Four stations were also closed after an earthquake that hit the capital in 2017.
DNV’s preliminary findings appeared to support a New York Times survey, who found that the steel posts essential to the strength of the viaduct had been poorly welded, causing the collapse. López Obrador and Sheinbaum questioned the impartiality of this report and others.
In one 15 page documentEbrard refuted some of the NYT’s claims, saying that “matters. . . in some cases, are based on false premises or seem to suggest conclusions or adopt an accusatory attitude ”.