Crucial ‘Pacifico 1’ Highway Construction Ramps-Up Following Long Delays
The “Corvipacifico” construction consortium announced in late September that it is cranking-up construction works on the long-delayed “Pacifico 1” highway between Medellin and Bolombolo.
That highway will connect (via a new bridge across the Cauca River) with the under-construction “Pacifico 2” highway linking Bolombolo to La Pintada — both straddling the Cauca River — and then onward via “Pacifico 3” highway all the way to Colombia’s main Pacific freight port at Buenaventura.
To facilitate construction on “Pacifico 1,” Corvipacifico is closing the existing highway between Puerto Escondido and Bolombolo from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays for the next six months, according to the group.
“This closure is a priority need from the point of view of road safety, and is carried out in order to advance the construction and stabilization of slopes that will be part of the four-lane divided highway, the upper portion of which is located at about 45 meters above the existing road,” according to Corvipacifico.
According to Corfipacifico, construction also has begun on the two big tunnels for Pacifico 1 project, at Amagá (3.6-kilometers length) and Sinifaná (1.3-kilometers).
“These two tunnels that will cross the imposing and rugged geography of Antioquia will be added to the new generation of tunnels throughout Colombia,” according to the group.
The Sinifana tunnel is three kilometers from the town center of Bolombolo, and the Amagá tunnel is located in the municipality of Amagá, a long-time center of artisanal coal extraction.
“The tunnels respectively will be equipped with all the technological equipment for their operation and control with the best safety specifications [including] a ventilation system, lighting, communications, variable signaling and fire protection,” according to the group..
“Following the excavation activities that began recently, we foresee completion in September 2019 in the case of the Sinifaná tunnel, and in September 2021 we foresee completion of the Amagá tunnel,” according to the group.
The COP$3.58 trillion (US$1.2 billion) “Pacifico 1” project reached financial close two years ago (see Medellin Herald June 10, 2016), but construction work has been slow and sporadic.
“Pacifico 1” will total 50.2 kilometers in length, including the two tunnels, 54 new bridges and three new intersections.