Two ambitious highway projects in the state of Oaxaca are only a few months behind schedule, officials said after their progress was reviewed in a meeting between transport officials, the contractor ICA and Gov. Gabino Cué.
The new 104-kilometer freeway that will link Oaxaca City to the coast is expected to be in operation by the end of this year, providing a better connection between the state capital and the tourist destinations of Huatulco and Puerto Escondido. Travel time from Oaxaca city to the latter is expected to be reduced from six or seven hours to just over two.
The 5.25-billion-peso (US $352 million) project, which will offer a much faster alternative to two existing routes that wind through the southern Sierra, will consist of two lanes with wide shoulders for a total width of 12 meters. It has required the construction of 12 bridges and viaducts, four tunnels and nine interchanges.
Due to be completed in the first half of next year is the Oaxaca-Isthmus highway, a 9-billion-peso project that will reduce travel between the capital and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from four and a half hours to two. It includes the construction of 54 bridges, 11 viaducts, five interchanges and three tunnels.
Gov. Cué said both highways will boost industrial development, tourism, fishing and agriculture. They also represent a major Mexican engineering feat considering the difficult topography of the state, he said.
Another feat has been overcoming the technical, legal and financial difficulties that plagued the new highways for nearly 10 years before construction began in earnest.