Project Spotlight: Santa Catarina urban viaduct

Bnamericas Published: Friday, November 01, 2019
Project Spotlight: Santa Catarina urban viaduct

The Mexican government confirmed financing for a 7.9km urban viaduct over the Santa Catarina river in Nuevo León state.

The project is the first of five that the government included in an 18.9bn-peso (US$251mn) investment plan for current highway concessions, the ministries of finance (SHCP) and communications and transportation (SCT) said in a statement. 

The 4.8bn-peso viaduct – originally estimated at 6.8bn pesos – will extend the Saltillo-Monterrey La Gloria highway that links the northern states of Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, and will pass through the the municipalities of Santa Catarina, San Pedro and Monterrey.

Although the La Gloria highway is currently subject to the maintenance of a joint venture led by Mexican infrastructure developer Grupo Servyre, according to Mexico Projects Hub, the Santa Catarina bridge was awarded to road concessions operator Roadis, owned by Canadian pension fund manager PSP through its subsidiary CAMS.

Roadis currently holds a 45-year concession to operate the Saltillo-Monterrey highway and the Perote-Xalapa-Banderilla highway in Veracruz state.

According to previous reports, the viaduct will divert traffic coming from the highway to the city of Monterrey to ease congestion at Morones Prieto avenue, on the limit of Santa Catarina and San Pedro municipalities. 

The viaduct would also have two branches and its construction is expected to be completed in 24 months, although a starting date was not announced.

Five highway concessions to be upgraded 

The Mexican government is opting to invest in a series of infrastructure projects to boost the economy and strengthen the struggling construction sector.

In July, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced that the government would give priority to seven infrastructure projects, to which his administration would allocate some US$26.5bn. 

Some of the projects are the well-known Mayan train, the Felipe Ángeles international airport (AISL) at the Santa Lucía military airbase in Mexico state and the Dos Bocas oil refinery in Tabasco state.  

However, not every project on the government’s agenda will start from scratch.

There are five major projects with existing concessions that SCT is hoping to upgrade or expand to spur the economy.  

The ministry says the contract extensions do not require new tenders, as they involve additional construction works. 

The Santa Catarina urban viaduct is one of them and it is also the first of the five to be officially confirmed. 

The remaining four are construction of a 32km bypass, known as Libramiento de Ixmiquilpan, that would link the Durango-Yerbanís highway in Durango state; adding three lanes to the 30km section of the Tuxtla Gutiérrez-San Cristóbal de las Casas highway in Chiapas state; a 37km road linking Ventura and El Peyote municipalities in San Luis Potosí state; and three projects awarded to highway concessionaire Red de Carreteras de Occidente (RCO) in the states of Michoacán and Jalisco.

The last of these concessions, however, saw a change in ownership this month, SHCP said in a statement.

Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners, which used to own the majority share of RCO, sold 70% of its shares to Abertis y GIC for the reported amount of 45bn pesos.

SCT’s deputy director of information, Vicente García, told BNamericas that no official date has been set for the confirmation of the four remaining projects. 

However, it would likely be in the upcoming months since both SCT and SHCP announced the launch of 873 tenders for infrastructure projects, for maintenance and repairs to roads, to begin next year.

The tenders are due to be on government procurement site CompraNet as of Tuesday.

Pictured: The route of the Saltillo-Monterrey La Gloria highway (CREDIT: Mexico Projects Hub)

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  • Company: Sacmag de Mexico, S.A. De C.V.  (Grupo SACMAG)
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