Colombia infrastructure watch
Colombian President Gustavo Petro's administration plans to "revolutionize" the national rail network, river navigation, construction of ports and local roads in order to improve connections between the various regions of the country.
Transport minister Guillermo Francisco Reyes said the government sees the development of the country's transport infrastructure as essential to generate greater opportunities for sectors such as tourism, agriculture and commerce.
Reyes added that, in addition to continuing to structure projects, the national infrastructure agency (ANI) will be strengthened to lead the organization of transport infrastructure that has been awarded under concessions, as well as health, education and irrigation projects.
The minister also said that he hopes to work closely with the financial sector, the main financier under the concession model, and that he wants to reduce red tape to make structuring of projects much more agile, rapid and transparent.
The modernization of the transport infrastructure will play an important role to enable tourism to act as a catalyst for the Colombian economy.
Transport minister Reyes said that one of the priorities for the sector is to ensure the expansion and modernization of Rafael Núñez airport in Cartagena.
To do this, talks are being held between the ANI, the civil aviation authority Aerocivil and the concessionaire, Sociedad Aeroportuaria de la Costa (SACSA) to analyze the alternatives for maintenance under the current concession contract, until a contract for the design and construction of a new international terminal can be awarded.
The aim is to expand the aviation platform, remodel the present terminal and maintain the current infrastructure.
In the first seven months of the year, Rafael Núñez airport handled a total of 4.26mn passengers.
The government expects to make a final decision on the 2.34tn-peso (US$532mn) Canal del Dique project on September 12.
On August 3, the tender to award the works on the canal, which had a single bidder, Sacyr Concesiones Colombia, was suspended.
ANI president William Camargo said that the government wants to make this decision quickly to satisfy the needs of communities in the area and address the latent flood risks in the areas surrounding the canal.
The project is aimed at controlling the transit of sediments from the canal towards the bay of Cartagena and the bay of Barbacoas, as well as mitigating the risks of flooding.
The project has a total length of 116km and runs between the municipality of Calamar and the bay of Cartagena.
The works include, among others, a system of gates in Calamar and locks in Calamar and Puerto Badel to stem flows of sediments into the system and thus control possible flooding along the canal.
The pre-construction process is expected to last 18 months.
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