Medellin-Bogota Highway Finally Reopened; ‘Mar 2’ Gets Financial Close
Medellin’s decades-long battle to overcome logistical isolation from world markets took two more steps this month as highway concessionaire Devimed partially cleared a huge landslide blocking the Medellin-Bogota highway -- and the crucial “Mar 2” project linking Medellin to Atlantic ports also finally got its financial close.
According to Devimed, construction crews have now reopened the Medellin-Bogota highway to most traffic in both directions, although with only two lanes (rather than the normal four).
The highway had been totally blocked ever since an enormous landslide December 28 at kilometer 14 in the Medellin suburb of Copacabana. The latest landslide was only two kilometers away from an earlier, unrelated landslide that had blocked the same highway last October (see Medellin Herald on October 27, 2016).
Despite the partial reopening of the highway, much more clearance work remains, as an estimated 90,000 cubic meters of dirt and rocks are still sitting beside the highway -- in addition to the 64,000 cubic meters already removed from the site over the last three weeks.
Devimed said it now plans to recycle that remaining material into a type of retaining wall alongside the highway, rather than trying to haul-away the entire landslide.
‘Mar 2’ Financial Close
Meanwhile, Colombia’s national infrastructure agency (Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura, ANI) announced January 11 that the “Mar 2” highway project linking Medellin directly to new Atlantic ports has finally achieved financial close.
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation is the financing leader of the project.
The estimated COP$1.5 trillion (US$512 million), 254-kilometers-long “Mar 2” project will connect with the “Mar 1” highway project linking Medellin westward and northward toward the towns of Cañasgordas, Uramita, Dabeiba, Mutatá, El Tigre and Necoclí, all in Antioquia.
The project will include construction of 17.7 kilometers of new road between Uramita and Dabeiba, upgrades to 30.5 kilometers of existing road from to Uramita to Cañasgordas, and rehabilitation of 97 kilometers of road between Dabeiba, Mutatá and El Tigre, according to ANI.
During the second half of 2017, operations and maintenance work will commence on a 109-kilometers-long stretch between El Tigre and Necoclí.
The "Mar 2" project in total will include construction of 11 new tunnels, 59 new bridges and seven highway interchanges, according to ANI.
Construction partners for “Mar 2” include China Harbour Engineering Company (30%), SP Ingenieros SAS (20%), Pavimentar S.A (15%), Sonacol SAS (20%), Unidad de Infraestructura y Construcciones Asociadas SAS (10%) and Termotécnica Coindustrial (5%), according to ANI.
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