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Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim to rebuild collapsed Mexico City overpass at no cost

<i>Mexico's Civil Protection Agency</i><br/>A subway bridge collapsed in Mexico City causing the subway to tumble to the street below the overpass.
Mexico's Civil Protection Agency
A subway bridge collapsed in Mexico City causing the subway to tumble to the street below the overpass.

By Tatiana Arias

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim will pay for all the costs needed to rebuild Mexico City’s subway overpass-stretch, which left 26 dead after it collapsed last month, according to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Lopez Obrador said during his daily press briefing on Wednesday that he met with Slim, and that the billionaire assured the President that his construction firm “will pay for everything” needed for the reconstruction of Mexico City’s Subway Line 12 overpass.

“He will take care of the reconstruction of the entire [subway line] stretch, making sure that it gets done with all the necessary safety [measures] at no cost to the [Mexican] people and without asking [the government] for a budget,” Lopez Obrador said.

Slim “will not wait for the judicial [final investigation findings],” and will begin coordinating with Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum “so that in a year” the line will be open and operational once again, Lopez Obrador added.

The Carlos Slim Foundation declined to comment on Lopez Obrador’s statement when reached by CNN, as did Mexico City authorities.

Dozens of people lost their lives when an elevated portion of Line 12 known as the “Golden Line” collapsed in Mexico City on May 3.

The subway line had been touted as one of the most expensive and ambitious public works projects in Mexican history when it was inaugurated in October 2012.

The highly publicized ribbon-cutting was attended by the who’s-who of Mexican politics and power at the time, including then-president Felipe Calderón and Marcelo Ebrard, who was then in his last days as Mexico City’s mayor and is now foreign minister.

Carlos Slim, the owner of one of the construction companies involved, was also there.

Now, an independent investigation by the Norwegian firm DNV and a separate investigation by the local attorney’s office are looking into the causes of the deadly collapse, as well as those involved in the construction project, including Slim himself.

According to the investigation’s preliminary findings, deficient welding of metal studs, which apparently were not well connected to steel beams supporting a concrete slab and the elevated train rails, was among a number of issues that contributed to the May 4 incident.

The report said missing metal studs in some sections of the structure, different kinds of concrete used for the slab and unfinished or badly welded joints were some of the other factors that caused the raised railway to buckle, sending two subway carriages plummeting to the streets below.

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Reporting contributed by CNN’s Natalie Gallon and Karol Suarez in Mexico City.

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