Mexican highway funding secured

By Richard High06 March 2008

The Mexican government is to invest MXN 12 billion (US$ 1.11 billion) in an effort to fast-track the modernisation of the Durango-Mazatlán highway, according to a report in local paper El Semanario.

The project, part of the Mexico’s national infrastructure plan to connect its pacific coast to the Gulf of Mexico, aims to position Mexico as a vital link for Asia-US trade by serving as an alternative to the Panama Canal. The Durango-Mazatlán highway is expected to become the country’s third most important trans-shipment hub for Asian imports to the US, along with the Manzanillo and Lázaro Cárdenas ports.

President Felipe Calderón, quoted by El Semanario, said, that in addition Mexico will invest US$ 50 billion annually over the next five years in infrastructure, 10 times more than the Panama Canal expansion project.

The 1250 km highway runs from Mazatlán, in Sinaloa state, eastwards to the Durango state capital of Durango, crossing the Sierra Madre mountain range in western Mexico. Given the geography of the area, it will feature 62 tunnels and a similar number of bridges, the most important being the MXN 1.7 billion (US$ 159 million) Puente Bicentenario.

Construction is now underway and is scheduled for completion 2010. Once completed, travel time on the highway will drop from six to two and a half hours.

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