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Shorter traveling times

11:54 18 de November de 2021 By Daniel Oiticica

It is the largest plan for the transformation, recovery and modernization of the country’s roads in recent decades.

Nearly 2 billion dollars of investment in infrastructure works are planned for the coming months and years in El Salvador. It is the largest plan for the transformation, recovery and modernization of the country’s roads in recent decades. For investors in the sector, doors are open to participate. And for investors from other sectors, this plan is the confirmation of El Salvador’s commitment to improving its road infrastructure, which means better travel times and conditions.

One of the largest and most awaited works of the current administration has already been delivered. It is the vehicular passage along the road Camino a Surf City, known as La Libertad Bypass, a strategic work that will improve development of the area, with a modern, safe and quality infrastructure. With a total length of 6.5 kilometers and executed in three segments, this new road is a project considered a “flagship of the corruption of the past”, which was rescued by the current administration after overcoming a series of irregularities.

The work will benefit more than 108,300 inhabitants of the area with direct connectivity between the highways to the Port of La Libertad and the Litoral, without passing through the urban area of the port city. It created more than 800 direct jobs during its construction. The starting point is in the vicinity of the La Danta stream crossing and its completion occurs in the vicinity of the El Mirador subdivision, a sector known as Los Violines, which joins with the Litoral Highway.

The work will improve conditions for transporting people and goods to and from the Pacific Corridor, with a fast and continuous vehicular flow, thus considerably reducing travel times and vehicle operating costs. It will allow vehicular traffic passing through the Port of La Libertad to decrease, especially on weekends and during vacation periods, a great advantage since it is a highly touristic area.

With this infrastructure, a regional competitiveness corridor will be built, linking productive zones concentrated between the Salvadoran capital and the coastal area on the Coastal Highway.

On the other hand, many projects are in the development stage; some are more advanced than others. Seven new overpasses are planned and are already in the bidding process. According to the Ministry of Public Works (MOP), contracts are expected to be awarded before the end of 2021:  Intersection between Carretera al Puerto de La Libertad, over Redondel Utila, Santa Tecla; Prolongación Bulevar Constitución over Redondel de Integración, Apopa; Intersection of Bulevar Constitución and Calle Antigua a Zacamil, Mejicanos; Intersection of Bulevar Constitución and Calle Al Volcán, Mejicanos; Calle Principal La Gloria, Mejicanos; Árbol de La Paz, Bulevar de Los Próceres; and the Monumento Hermano Lejano, in total, $74 million of investment.

In terms of ring roads, the so-called Periféricos, works have already begun on the Claudia Lars Periférico, 10.8 kilometers long. It will reduce the travel time towards the west of the country or to enter the capital and will also allow economic savings for drivers and passenger and cargo transportation. The project includes different road works: bridges, traffic circle, overpass, and the construction of a 10.8-kilometer-long road between the towns of San Juan Opico and Sacacoyo, both in the department of La Liberta. Once launched, drivers will no longer necessarily have to pass through the town of Lourdes, Colón, to go to Sonsonate or other sectors of the West, but will shorten the passage, thus avoiding the stress of the congestion. The total investment is US$32.26 million.

The Gerardo Barrios ring road, another of El Salvador’s major works, is 21 kilometers long, with an investment of US$160 million, which will directly benefit more than 245,100 inhabitants of the area and all those who drive to the rest of the departments of the Eastern zone, from San Miguel. It is being built in four sections, the first of which has already been completed and launched. Sections 2 and 4 are under construction as of November 2021. Section 3, on the other hand, is in the bidding phase (Nov 2021). With an extension of 7.22 kilometers, this section consists of the construction of a 2-lane road from Hato Nuevo on the Ruta Militar to El Papalón at Km 145.38 of the existing CA-1, and includes interchanges. It totals 4 bridges and 13 drains and culverts.

There are several projects related to road widening. The most innovative and which is in the design stage (nov 2021) is the Pan-American Highway, Los Chorros section. There are 15 kilometers that include the expansion of the section from Colonia Las Delicias to Poliedro to 8 lanes; and from Poliedro to San Juan Opico to 6 lanes. There is also a proposal to adapt the existing overpasses, such as the interchange at Bulevar Monseñor Romero, where the junctions will be adapted, and the returns at the Poliedro crossing, and the access ramps at the detour to Opico. The MOP plans to put out to bid the expansion of the road to Los Chorros in the last quarter of 2021.

El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly approved US$245.8 million for both the widening and construction of the Francisco Morazán Viaduct. This imposing viaduct will be built at kilometer 16.5 of the Pan-American Highway, which is the most critical point due to the occurrence of rockslides and landslides, landslides that force the closure of the road, in addition to representing a risk for road users. It is an 8-lane viaduct, which will be 850 meters long plus 250 meters of approach ramps. The final design of the project is expected to be finalized before the end of 2021.