Colombia Government: US$365 Million Financing Set for Crucial ‘Mar 2’ Highway
Antioquia’s departmental government officially announced September 24 that the national government will finalize on November 11 a COP$1.4 trillion (US$365 million) financing package for the crucial “Tramo 2” (phase-two section) of new highway linked to the under-construction Toyo Tunnel westward from Medellin.
The Toyo Tunnel – also known as “Tunel Guillermo Gaviria Echeverri” – when completed in 2023 will become Colombia’s longest highway tunnel, part of the “Mar 2” highway project linking Medellin to current and future Atlantic freight ports.
The Toyo Tunnel project – now about one-third excavated – is funded by the city of Medellin (COP$530 billion/US$138 million) and the Antioquia departmental government (COP$795 billion/US$208 million).
But that tunnel would have been orphaned from the entire Mar 2 highway project unless the national government had followed-through on its promise to fund the “Tramo 2” highway section between Santa Fe de Antioquia and the Toyo Tunnel entrance.
“We had the great announcement of the contribution that the national government will ensure COP$1.4 trillion for the phase-two portion of this project,” said Lina Vélez de Nicholls, executive director of the Medellín Chamber of Commerce for Antioquia. “This is a great effort because the competitiveness of our region depends on this work as well as the [connecting] Mar 1 and Mar 2 highways to the [Caribbean] sea.”
Juan Pablo López Cortés, Antioquia’s Secretary of Physical Infrastructurea, added that “this [financing] commitment of the nation ratifies the joint effort made for our region and is very positive, both for the project and for the productivity and competitiveness of Antioquia. Having [financing commitments] will allow us to start contracting for the construction of phase-two of the Guillermo Gaviria Echeverri Tunnel” project.
The 19.4-kilometers-long Phase Two section will include 11 new tunnels, 13 new bridges and an additional 12.5 kilometers of regular highway.