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Colombia opens Sincelejo highway variant

Colombian officials cut the ribbon on the Oriental Variant of Sincelejo, part of the Cordoba-Sucre highway project.

With a ribbon cutting ceremony led by Colombian Vice President German Vargas Lleras, the Oriental Variant of Sincelejo, a small section of the Cordoba-Sucre highway P3 project, was opened to the public on Wednesday.

“This is extraordinary news for Sucre and we will continue our commitment to carry forward all infrastructure works in the department,” said Vargas at the ribbon cutting ceremony. 

The 11.2-kilometre variant features two, 3.6-metre wide lanes and paved medians 1.8 metres wide. The municipalities of Sampues, Morroa, Corozal, Policarpa, El Cinco, Chocho, Las Palmas, and La Gallera will all be connected by the new route, with as many as 300,000 regional residents standing to benefit from its use. 

One upside for rural residents with access to the highway is that they will no longer be forced to travel to Sincelejo to connect with the Andean nation's growing highway system, according to the Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura (ANI), Colombia's public-private partnership (P3) office. 

One thousand jobs were created throughout the construction phase of the project, with 95 percent of those employees sourced from the impact region. Total construction cost was COP$20.5 billion ($8.08 million; €7.32 million), according to an ANI representative.

The Cordoba-Sucre highway, when completed, will connect the Atlantic coast with the heart of Colombia, and aims to reduce vehicle accidents in the region while creating a route that allows freight vehicles to maintain constant speed, reducing the time and cost of transporting goods through the region. 

The full length of the divided highway will connect 17 cities in the Antioquia and Bolivar departments with positive economic impact for more than half a million people of an estimated $1.1 billion for the region. The overall project calls for the construction of 120 kilometers of divided highway along with surface rehabilitation for another 260-kilometre stretch.

Project work began in 2007, and the contract held by private partner Savannah Highway calls for the design, social impact, financing, construction, rehabilitation, and operation and maintenance of the highway.

“This is a truly stupendous project to advance the highways in Colombia,” said ANI Director Luis Fernando Andrade in a video detailing the project.