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Colombia’s 4G program hits the road

The GICA highway P3 project, the first unsolicited proposal to be approved as part of the country's $25 billion 4G plan, is about to enter construction phase.

With the final contract signing by government officials on Tuesday, Colombia's Girardot-Ibague-Cajamarca (GICA) highway public-private partnership (PPP; P3) project is ready to enter its construction phase.

Works will be carried out by the Promesa de Sociedad Futura consortium, which was selected to build and maintain the road by the procuring authorities in January. The project was approved last year as part of the country's $25 billion Fourth Generation of Roads (4G) program.

“The construction of the divided highway exceeds COP$1 billion [$9.97 million; €9.34 million], and will benefit the more than 2,000 workers who will be trained and who will work during the construction of the road,” said Colombian Vice President German Vargas Lleras at the signing.

Transport Minister Natalia Abello Tolima told those present that her agency will “closely monitor the construction schedules,” and said she believes that through investments like GICA, Colombia will “build peace,” not just highways, in the country.

The project will involve the construction of seven tunnels, 57 bridges and viaducts, and several new roadways as well as the expansion of select roadways into divided highways. The total project area includes a 225.1-kilometre corridor and is strategically planned to improve access from the Colombian Midwest to the Port of Buenaventura.

Last week, a third-party auditor, the Tecnicos y Economicos consortium, was selected to audit the project as it progresses, clearing the way for works to begin.

In total, the project will employ 2,400 workers throughout its seven-year construction phase. The contract has a total duration of 28 years.

ANI President Luis Fernando Andrade credited Vargas and Abello for pushing through legislation that made the GICA project possible.

“It's definitely a historic moment for our infrastructure and reflects the fruitful work done in recent years, led by Vice President German Vargas and Minister of Transport Natalia Abello.”