Super Highway to Oaxaca

Photos: Ernesto J. Torres

To get you up to speed (metaphorically): In 2007, the Grupo Omega, a privately held construction company, won the concession to build the 104-km toll road from the Coastal Highway in Ventanilla, Santa María Colotepec to Barranca Larga, Ejutla. This super highway would connect to highway 175 for the last 65 km’s of the trip to Oaxaca. Estimated travel time from Puerto Escondido to Oaxaca: 3 hours.

The highway was supposed to be completed in 2010, but Omega received a two-year extension because of the financial crisis of 2008. (Under the terms of the 30-year concession, the highway was to be jointly financed by Omega and the Federal government.) By the end of 2011, the highway – which includes three tunnels and 11 bridges – was barely begun. Omega gave up its concession that year because of its financial problems.

ICA, a much larger infrastructure company, got the concession in 2012. By the time it gave back the concession to the Federal government in 2015, due to corporate financial problems not related to the project, the highway was 56% completed, according to the transportation ministry (SCT).

For almost four years, until the summer of 2019, the project languished. There were numerous landslides and no one to clean them up. Banobras, the Federal public works bank, took over the project in March of 2018. There would be no more concessions, just contracts for building the various parts of the road and others for the bridges and tunnels. Vise, a construction company with headquarters in Guanajuato, won the contract for the 31 km’s that runs from the Ventanilla entrance to the Santa Martha tunnel. In December, Vise had around 100 employees in Colotepec, including heavy machinery operators and engineers. It also employs around 20 local truckers.

In a December interview with ¡Viva Puerto!, Vise’s project supervisor for Colotepec, Abelardo Montoya Barbosa, estimated that the work in Colotepec would be completed in six months. Of course, this time frame does not include the La Pita and Colotepec bridges, which will be done by nother company. As of December, no work was being done on these bridges.

Imagine: A Super Highway
      To Oaxaca

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