Santa Martha tunnel, north side.
Santa Martha tunnel, north side.

Highway to Oaxaca 1/23

Photos: Ernesto J. Torres

The 104 km toll road will connect highway 200 at Ventanilla, Colotepec to highway 175 at Barranca Larga, Ejutla, cutting the travel time from Puerto Escondido to Oaxaca to under three hours. Construction began in 2007, but there were years in which no work was done at all, as the first contractor went bankrupt with the international financial crisis, and the second also faced insolvency for reasons unrelated to the highway. Now the project is in the hands of Banobras, the federal infrastructure development bank, which has contracted out the construction to various builders. Throughout the years the project has suffered many delays because of conflicts between the communities along the route.

WE TRAVELED FROM SANTA MARÍA COLOTEPEC to San Vicente Coatlán, on January 18, and were amazed at the progress that had been made in the last four months since our September 11, 2022 trip. (See Vivapuerto #35)


Most of the roadway is now paved or at least drivable. It’s open to the public on Sundays when no construction is being done. We have spoken to people who have traveled from one end to the other on Sundays with few detours in only 3 hours, but in vehicles with high suspension. We went on a Wednesday.

Colotepec bridge

Colotepec bridge 9/22   -   Colotepec bridge 1/23

The problem now is that since September San Vicente Coatlán has blocked construction on the 15 kms of highway that runs through its territory. It is holding this land hostage in its 50-year fight with Sola de Vega over around 20,000 hectares of land far from the highway. The Agrarian Court awarded the land to Sola deVega, a decision that San Vicente does not accept. Twenty-eight people have been killed in the last fifteen years of this conflict.

San Antonio tunnel, north side
San Antonio tunnel, north side 1/23.   -   San Antonio tunnel, north side 9/22.

During a visit to the highway on January 16, President López Obrador proposed that the Federal government purchase half of the land from Sola de Vega in order to give it to San Vicente. He later said that if an agreement could not be reached in 30 days, a bypass would be built around San Vicente. Talks have now began between the two municipios.

ICA courtesy map.

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