Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced on Monday a new modification to the controversial Maya Train project, saying that the train will now include a 45-mile (72km) stretch of elevated track through the jungle.

The project, which is López Obrador’s pet project meant to shuffle tourists through the popular Yucatan peninsula, was supposed to run through an elevated line on the coastal highway near the hotels, until the owners of said hotels opposed him for various reasons, according to the Associated Press.

Modifying the project to instead go through the jungle between Cancun and Tulum caused an outcry from environmentalists, many of whom were concerned about the potential repercussions the project could have to the network of caves and sinkhole lakes that are located in the area, Seattle PI reported. Many of them were also concerned about the potential contamination of the water running through the underground cave systems of the jungle, many of which do not have a surface river and are reliant on the underground water.

After much modification, López Obrador said that the project has been modified to be built on 80-foot (25 meter) filings on the soil, which will then support the elevated sections that will be eight feet (2.5 meters) off the ground. He claimed that the engineers will avoid the areas with caves, something which activists are skeptical of.

“They do not have the technical ability to sink the columns where there are no caves, because they (the caves) are everywhere,” diver Jose ‘Pepe’ Urbina said. “It’s stupid to build a train on this soil, build a train in the middle of the jungle, build a train that pollutes the water.”

The continued modifications and controversy surrounding the Maya Train project has left many doubting López Obrador’s promise that the train will be built within one year’s time. The project also includes a suspended bridge that will reportedly be built over one particularly large cavern.

Greenpeace protests against the construction of a section of the Maya Train
Greenpeace protests against the construction of a section of the Maya Train, in Playa del Carmen. Photo by: Reuters/Paola Chiomante

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