Colombia’s landmark Autopista al Mar (Highway to the Sea) highway construction project, valued at 2.2 trillion pesos ($600 million USD) is progressing on track, with significant portions to open later this year, according to the country’s transportation ministry. So far, 2,400 jobs have been created, of the 3,200 expected. The highway construction and expansion project includes 4.4 km of highway tunnels through the mountainous Antioquia region, and a 426 meter highway bridge over the Cauca river connecting the Autopista al Mar 1 to the Túnel del Toyo tunnel.
In Cañasgordas, Autopista al Mar 1 will connect with the Autopista al Mar 2 project which runs from Cañasgordas to the Gulf of Urabá on Colombia’s Atlantic coast, where the Puerto Antioquia ocean port & terminal is under construction.
The project includes expansion from a 2-lane road to 4-lane highway the existing transportation artery between Medellín and the region’s first capital of Santa Fë de Antioquia; now a booming tourist destination and vacation area. From Santa Fe, road improvements have also been made to Peñalisa (Salgar) and Cañasgordas. The tunnel connecting Medellín to the west is also being expanded from two to four lanes, and one to two shafts through the side of the Aburrá valley, entering and exiting Medellín’s west side.
“This project, which fundamentally connects the communities of the west and southeast of Antioquia, is an example of the commitment of the National Government to develop infrastructure projects with the highest quality standards, in order to boost the country’s competitiveness,” said Angela María Orozco, Minister of Transport.
The 181km highway project has been recognized by international media for its management and financing, including “Road Financing of the Year” and “Infrastructure Financing of the Year: Andes” , granted by Latin Finance; Best Road Deal of the Year , delivered by IJ Global Project Finance & Infrastructure Journal, and Americas Transport Deal of the Year , by Project Finance International (PFI). Americas Deals of the Year was given to the Devimar Concession that operates and maintains the highway under a toll scheme.