Crucial ‘Magdalena 2’ Highway Project in Antioquia Restarts
Colombia’s Transport Ministry and the Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura (ANI, the national infrastructure agency) jointly announced April 16 a new financing deal to restart construction on the 114-kilometers-long “Autopista Rio Magdalena 2” highway project in Antioquia.
The COP$2.3 trillion (US$578 million) “fourth generation” (4G) highway project will connect northern Antioquia with the “Ruta del Sol” highway linking central Colombia with northern Caribbean freight ports.
The route first will link the towns of Remedios to Alto de Dolores (Maceo) and then Alto de Dolores onward to Puerto Berrío, Antioquia. Prior to this new finance deal, the project had only made 12% progress — aside from the nearly-complete Rio Magdalena Bridge at Puerto Berrio.
As a result of this restart, 24 of the 29 nationwide “4G” projects soon will start to move ahead – although accompanied by new Health Ministry protocols to avoid Coronavirus infections.
“With the viability of this project, the connection between Medellín and Caucasia [Medio Magdalena region] on a new road will become a reality, reducing the travel time from six hours to four hours,” according to ANI.
Colombia’s Vice Minister of Infrastructure Olga Lucía Ramírez explained that thanks to an agreement with the construction concessionaire and workshops accompanied by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, “the execution and materialization of this great project will be guaranteed, mitigating adverse effects for the Colombian state and capitalizing savings that exceed COP$160 billion [US$40 million].”
“These projected savings are the result of the decrease in the remuneration that otherwise would be paid to the concessionaire for the execution of all the works, as well as for the operation and maintenance of the highway,” according to ANI.
“With the agreement with the concession, today the financial viability of the project is being guaranteed with a clear execution schedule.
“It should be remembered that this concession had a change in its shareholding composition and was recently acquired by the Australian capital fund, IFM Investors, who have investments around the world of more than US$100 billion, of which nearly US$40 billion have been invested in infrastructure projects,” the agency added.