Medellin Moves Closer to Atlantic with Highway Expansions, Proposed Rail Link
Colombia’s Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura (ANI, the infrastructure development agency) announced October 12 the opening of another 12.1-kilometers stretch of four-lane divided highway linking Medellin northward to Barbosa, Pradera and other Antioquian towns.
The COP$438 billion (US$149 million) project, first launched in 2013, will link to new Atlantic-coast routes including the “Vias del Nus,” the “Magdalena 2” and the “Conexion Norte” highways, as well as to Puerto Berrio on the Magdalena River.
These new connections will drastically improve freight transport times between Medellin and key Atlantic ports including Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta.
ANI put COP$318 billion (US$108 million) into the Barbosa-Pradera project, with the government of Antioquia adding the other COP$120 billion (US$41 million).
Proposed Freight-Rail Link
On a related front, ANI announced October 12 that it’s launching studies with Antioquia’s departmental government on a possible reactivation of 80 kilometers of a long-abandoned rail link between Amaga and Puerto Berrio, Antioquia.
The scheme – if ever developed – potentially could provide a rail alternative for freight transport between Medellin, its suburbs, and the Magdalena River port of Puerto Berrio, with onward connections to the Atlantic.
Medellin’s under-development “Parques del Rio” (River Parks) – which buries portions of the main north-south “Autopista” highway running through the center of the city – wouldn’t be an obstacle to construction of the rail link, according to Antioquia Governor Luis Perez.
In an interview with local newspaper El Colombiano, Governor Perez was quoted as saying that the proposed rail link would run parallel to Medellin’s existing “Autopista” – including the new portion beneath the under-construction “Parques del Rio” project.
The down-slope and up-slope portions of the rail line at the entrances and exits below “Parques del Rio” would be sufficiently gradual to enable trains to pass through without problems, Perez was quoted as saying.