javier lazcano Lazcano: another highway promise. milenio

Yet another promise for Oaxaca highway

Transportation official says long-delayed highway will be done in 18 months

Government officials have been promising the completion of a Oaxaca freeway for years, yet the 104-kilometer highway through the southern Sierra is still only half-finished.

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But the litany of broken promises, the most recent of which was issued last December, didn’t stop the federal Transportation Secretariat’s state delegate from making another this week.

Eighteen months, said Javier Lazcano, and the project will be completed, adding six months to the December forecast by another federal transportation official, who said construction would begin last January and finish by the end of the year.

Seven months later and nothing has happened, apart from a change in the forecast cost.

It has actually come down from the December forecast of 3 billion pesos (US $167 million) to a little more than 1.6 billion, the figure that Lazcano gave this week. He said the money will come from the National Infrastructure Fund, Fonadin.

The construction company Empresas ICA, which previously held the contract and the concession for the highway, said last year that 5.25 billion pesos had been invested in it. The firm’s financial problems forced it to abandon the project, whose delays have been caused largely by disputes with indigenous communities over compensation for the land it sits on.

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The freeway will reduce driving time between Oaxaca city and the coast to a point near Puerto Escondido to a little more than two hours from the current seven, according to officials.

Lazcano said another long-delayed highway, between Mitla and Tehuantepec, is also to be finished, along with several others.

The federal representative also said more than 1.7 billion pesos will be required to repair bridges and 450 kilometers of highways damaged by two tropical storms earlier this year. The money will be requested from the National Disaster Fund, Fonden.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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