Colombia pushes accelerator on $25bn road plan

The country has announced eight projects to be pursued as PPPs as it seeks to boost economic competitiveness through an ambitious infrastructure upgrade.

Colombia’s National Council for Economic and Social Policy (CONPES) last week announced the eight road projects that will form the second wave of its Fourth Generation road infrastructure programme.

Total investment for the projects is estimated at $16.4 billion. The government, which approved COP17.2 trillion (€6.4 billion; $8.0 billion) in spending on the projects earlier this month, hopes they will attract significant interest from the private sector. Bidding is expected to start in the coming weeks.

The projects, to be undertaken as public-private partnerships (PPP), comprise:

_Neiva – Girardot, involving the development of a new 79-kilometre (km) road and the upgrade of a 190km road, for a total cost estimated at $2.3 billion;

_Villavicencio – Yopal, involving the development of a new 48km road and the upgrade of a 212km road, for a total cost estimated at $2.5 billion;

_Rumichaca – Pasto, involving the development of a new 80 km road, for a total cost estimated at US$2.2 billion;

_Puerta de Hierro – Carreto – Palmar de Varela and Carreto – Cruz del Viso, involving the upgrade of a 175km road for a total cost estimated at US$1.2 billion;

_Santana – Mocoa – Neiva, involving the development of a new 54 km road and the upgrade of a 422 road for a total cost estimated at US$3 billion;

_Santander de Quilichao – Popayán, involving the development of a new 76 km road for a total cost estimated at US$1.6 billion;

_Barrancabermeja – Bucaramanga, involving the development of a new 194 km road and the upgrade of a 67 km road for a total cost estimated at US$2.7 billion;

_Sisga – El secreto, involving the upgrade of the road for a total cost estimated at US$911 million.

The announcement comes as Colombia forges ahead with its plans to auction off about $25 billion worth of road infrastructure in a bid to reduce travel times and transport costs.

The government this month signed the certificates of commencement for five projects included in the first wave of 4G concessions, and expects to submit the 10 projects comprised in the third wave to the Finance Ministry in February.