Antioquia’s ‘Vias del Nus’ Highway Project Launches Construction
Colombia’s Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura (ANI) announced March 9 the start of construction on the “Vias del Nus” highway project linking Medellin suburbs northward to major Atlantic ports including Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta.
The COP$1.1 trillion (US$366 million) project — also known as “Vinus”– is financed privately, with Colombia’s Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN) having arranged loans from investor-partners including International Finance Corporation, Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporatión and Colombia’s Ministerio de Hacienda y Crédito Público (see Medellin Herald on January 25, 2017).
Scheduled for completion by 2021, the “Vinus” highway system would run 157.4 kilometers and would enable freight and passenger vehicles to travel at speeds averaging 80 kilometers per hour — slashing travel time between Medellín and Cartagena to 14 hours, down from 24 hours today, according to ANI.
When complete, “Vinus” will connect to Puerto Valdivia, linking with the “Rio Magdalena 2” and “Conexión Norte” highways, ANI noted.
“This project will push forward development and progress in Antioquia and in the entire country, given that it will be part of the highway connection to the Middle Magdalena region, the northeast of Antioquia and the new highway corridor to [the Atlantic ports of] Coveñas and Cartagena,” added ANI president Luis Fernando Andrade.
The first phase of construction involves rehabilitation of 35.6 kilometers of highway between Cisneros and Alto Dolores. Then — over the next four years — 24.3 kilometers of four-lane, divided highway between Pradera and Porcesito will be built. The “Vinus” project also includes new, twin tunnels (each of 4.1 kilometers) at the La Quiebra pass, plus a new link to Cisneros, plus 2.7 kilometers of a third lane of highway between San José del Nus and Alto Dolores.
By 2021, the “Vinus” project will form part of 97.5 kilometers of four-lane divided highway including the section between the Medellin suburb of Bello and Hatillo, ANI noted.