Mexico City's mega tunnel. Mexico City's giant wastewater tunnel.

CDMX’s mega tunnel five years behind

Projected cost has more than doubled to over 23 billion pesos

A wastewater infrastructure project for the greater Mexico City area is almost five years behind schedule and its multi-billion-peso budget has doubled.


When the Eastern Emission Tunnel (TEO) was announced in November 2008, the project was scheduled to be finished in four years and would represent an investment of just over 11 billion pesos (almost US $840 million at the time).

The delays and cost overruns began one year before its scheduled finish date. In July 2011, the projected cost soared to just over 16 billion pesos, and completion was rescheduled to October 2014.

Just over a year later completion was rescheduled again, this time for June 2015.

That date rolled by, the project still uncompleted, and a yet another date was set — August 2018. The budget was revised upward again to almost 23.4 billion pesos.

When it is finally finished the TEO will be a 62-kilometer-long mega tunnel from the Remedios river to the Atotonilco water treatment plant in Hidalgo, the largest facility of its kind of Latin America and designed to treat 12% of Mexico’s wastewater.

The tunnel has been described as the biggest sewer project in the world.


The TEO will increase by 70% the volume of waste and storm water drained from Mexico City and the greater Valley of Mexico and is expected to have lifespan of 40 years.

Almost nine years after it was announced and five years after its original finish date, the tunnel project is 79% complete. The first 10 kilometers are already operating between the Remedio river and Las Américas and have been since 2013, carrying 40 cubic meters per second of wastewater from Mexico City’s Grand Drainage Canal.

At full capacity, up to 150 cubic meters per second will be released through TEO, contributing a great deal toward mitigating flooding in the Valley of Mexico.

As well as providing Mexico City with a new large-scale drain, the TEO is also expected to reduce the risk of flooding at the city’s new airport.

The National Water Commission, Conagua, is responsible for the project.

According to director general Roberto Ramírez de la Parra, the projects’s delays were the result of a miscalculation: “The real magnitude had not been projected, and neither was what would be found during the [subsoil] boring stage.”

Source: Milenio (sp)

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  • Joshua Rodriguez

    only if the cartels and crooked cartel politicians stop stealing the money then we wouldn’t mind paying more, because we’d have it.

  • kallen

    “The TEO will increase by 70% the volume of waste and storm water drained from Mexico City and the greater Valley of Mexico and is expected to have lifespan of 40 years.” This much money to last only 40 years! That’s mistake number one. Increase volume by only 70%! That’s mistake number two. Its sounds like capacity will quickly be outstripped and expectations will not be met in this age of increasing frequency of major precipitation events (ie climate change).

    • Garry Montgomery

      By the time it’s finished it will have exhausted its life expectancy! And, by which time the anticipated waste will have tripled. Who got the contract and who authorized it? PRI or PAN

  • Garry Montgomery

    Eastern Emission Tunnel (TEO) What does the “O” stand for? Túnel Emisión O (surely not oeste?!) aha! Oriental!