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Mexico's federal district (DF) public works department has begun construction of the first phase of the Supervia Sur-Poniente highway project, the DF government website reported.
Work includes access to the Tarango canyon, where the first of several bridges included in the project will be built. Additional work is scheduled to begin in two months and the project is due to be completed by end-2012.
The highway's first stretch will run from Centenario to Las Aguilas, while the second stage will connect the latter to Luis Cabrera district. The project's most difficult phase involves construction of a tunnel in the Loma zone of the city, the report said.
Consortium Controladora Via Rapida Poetas, comprised of Spanish firm OHL and Mexican firm Copri, is carrying out construction of the 6bn-peso (US$477mn) highway, which will connect the city's Santa Fe business district with the Periferico elevated highway.
The 5km toll highway has met with opposition from residents who will be displaced by the project, as well as environmental groups, which argue the new route will disrupt the filtration of rainwater into the area's aquifers.
Controladora Via Rapida Poetas has agreed to pay 50mn pesos to the city environmental fund to mitigate the project's environmental impact.