Crucial ‘Pacifico 2’ Highway Linking Medellin to Pacific Port Now 89% Complete; ‘Pacifico 1’ Landslide Won’t Affect Construction Deadline: ANI
Agencia Nacional de Infraestrucutura (ANI, Colombia’s national infrastructure agency) announced August 21 that the COP$1.7 trillion (US$443 million) “Pacifico 2” highway linking Medellin and southwest Antioquia to the Pacific port of Buenaventura is now 89% complete.
The 96.5-kilometers-long “Pacífico 2” project is linked to “Pacific 3” southward and “Pacifico 1” northward, enabling high-speed traffic through southwestern Antioquia — and crucial for reducing the cost of freight traffic between Medellin and ocean ports.
Pacifico 2 includes the 2.5-kilometers-long, four-lane, twin-tube “Mulatos” tunnel, as well as 40 bridges, 37 kilometers of new, four-lane divided highway, three kilometers of new two-lane highway, rehabilitation of 54 kilometers of existing highways and operation and maintenance of 71 kilometers of highway, according to ANI.
“The Mulatos tunnel is 81% complete and the [new] Cauca Bridge is currently 90% complete,” according to ANI.
“Functional Unit 2 between Puente Iglesias and the beginning of the Mulatos Tunnel has registered 91% progress,” while “Functional Unit 4” – which runs from the Mulatos Tunnel to the Bolombolo sector of Antioquia “is now 77% complete,” according to ANI.
“Functional Unit 1 in the La Pintada and Puente Iglesias sectors and Functional Unit 5 between La Pintada and Primavera are finished and in operation and maintenance,” the agency added.
“With the chain of projects Pacífico 1, 2 and 3, foreign trade to and from the coffee region and Medellín will be facilitated. Currently, the travel time in a truck from Medellín to [the Pacific port of] Buenaventura, takes 15 hours. With the construction of these projects it will be reduced to 10 hours,” according to ANI.
Landslide Near ‘La Siria’ Won’t Cause Delays
Meanwhile, ANI and “Pacifico 1”construction contractor Covipacifico announced August 17 that a recent landslide on one of the slopes under construction near “La Siria” — between bridges 18 and 19 of the Pacífico 1 project – will be cleared and restored in coming months, but won’t delay the over-all project.
The landslide wrecked a new section of highway being built between Bolombolo and Medellín — without damaging the existing highway — “so there is no impact on mobility to and from Southwest Antioquia” and Medellin, according to ANI.
The “La Siria” landslide is the second such event over the past 15 months on the 50-kilometers-long, four-lane divided Pacifico 1 project, with an earlier event at Sinifaná having already been cleared.
Because of these two landslides, ANI and Covipacifico just launched a new audit of other potentially vulnerable portions along the route “to guarantee that once the works are concluded they do not present any type of affectation,” according to ANI.
The COP$2.78 trillion (US$725 million) Pacífico 1 project is 46.6% complete and the developers aim to complete it by 2023.