The International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, has announced that the third and final portion of Colombia's Ruta del Sol, a 1,071-kilometre highway, has reached financial close.
The $900 million third stretch was awarded to Yuma Concesionaria, a consortium led by Italian construction company Impregilo and financial group Bancolombia.
The highway will be constructed between the nation’s interior and the Caribbean coast and will link Colombia’s main agricultural, industrial and urban centres. According to the press release, this last concession involves rehabilitating, expanding and operating an existing 464-kilometre, single-lane section of the highway.
The concession period for the project has been capped at 25 years and revenue is understood to be derived from a combination of tolls and availability payments. Availability payments are public contributions paid to the private sector in exchange for the asset’s availability in good condition.
With a total investment of $2.7 billion the Ruta del Sol aims to improve the country’s primary road network. It passes through 39 municipalities and is expected to reduce travel time along the route by approximately three hours. In addition, Ruta del Sol will provide rural communities with better access to many parts of the country.
The 1,071-kilometre highway project was split into three concessions structured by the IFC in cooperation with the Colombian Ministry of Finance. While the first section involved the construction and operation of a 78-kilometre, two-lane road, the second section focused on the rehabilitation, expansion, operation and maintenance of an existing 528-kilometre road, according to the press release.
In Colombia, IFC’s strategy focuses on supporting sectors that are essential to social and economic development, including infrastructure, health, education and public-private partnerships in transportation, renewable energy, water and sanitation. As of June 2010, IFC’s committed portfolio in Colombia was $1.06 billion.