Update: Medellin-Bolombolo Sinifaná Section of ‘Pacifico 1’ Reopens on Restricted-Hours Schedules
Colombia President Ivan Duque on December 20 celebrated a restricted-hours reopening of a 600-meters-long stretch of the “Pacifico 1” highway between Medellin and Bolombolo, which had been blocked for six months by a massive landslide near Amaga.
Until all repairs and mountainside reconstructions are finally completed in the area, the road will be opened only for restricted hours, from 6 am to 5 pm daily through January 7, according to Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura (ANI, the national infrastructure agency).
Then, starting January 8, the road will be open Monday through Saturday from 6 am to 9 am for morning traffic, and from 3 pm to 6 pm for afternoon traffic. On Sundays and holidays, the road will be open from 6 am to 5 pm — until related highway and mountainside works are eventually completed.
More than 1 million cubic meters of earth and rocks had collapsed at the “Sinifina” section of the highway last May, forcing inconvenient, slower detours through Venecia to Bolombolo, which connects with “Pacifico 2” and “Pacifico 3” highways southwestward toward the Pacific port of Buenaventura.
On a parallel front, new funding has been allocated for the design of a new bridge at Bolombolo over the Cauca River — parallel to the existing bridge – to “facilitate the transit of cargo vehicles,” according to ANI. Also, the national highway institute (Invias) and the Institute for the Development of Antioquia (IDEA) inked a related deal to upgrade the existing Venicia-Bolombolo road to handle detoured traffic during Pacifico 1 reconstruction works.
A new monitoring and alarm system enables 24 hours/day online supervision of the mountainside alongside this section Pacifico 1, which enables early warnings and shutdowns in case of threats of another landslide, according to the agency.
Mitigation works in the upper part of the mountainside – including canals, filtration systems and trenches – are already 80% complete, according to ANI.
“Progress has been made at a good pace in construction of two of three terraces and containment areas as elements to mitigate material slides,” according to ANI.