Two long overdue highway projects in Oaxaca remain on track for completion in 2022, Governor Alejandro Murat said on Monday.
Former presidents Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto all made commitments to complete the Barranca Larga-Ventanilla highway, which will connect Oaxaca city to Puerto Escondido on the Pacific coast, and the Mitla-Tehuantepec highway, which will better connect the state capital to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. However, none of them kept their word.
Murat, an Institutional Revolutionary Party governor in office since December 2016, said that his administration has made efforts to complete the highways but has faced “a lot of bureaucratic and financial problems.”
However, with Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president, the governor continued, there is now the “political will and conditions” required to complete the projects.
Murat said that the concerns of all of the communities and organizations that opposed the projects have been listened to and addressed and that there is now no impediment to completing the highways.
A new 12-kilometer stretch of the Barranca Larga-Ventanilla highway has just been completed and another 26-kilometer section is expected to be finished in June, he said. The first section of the Mitla-Tehuantepec highway is on schedule to be completed in March, the governor added.
Murat visited the completed section of the Barranca Larga-Ventanilla highway on Saturday with Finance Ministry investment chief Jorge Nuño Lara and the technical operations director of the state development bank Banobras, Sergio Sánchez.
During the visit, the governor said that the project was on the “right path” and progressing at an “appropriate speed,” adding that it was possible that López Obrador would visit Oaxaca in March to inaugurate the new section of road.
The president announced last June that work would restart on the two Oaxaca highways that had been suspended, and pledged that they would be completed in 2022.
With an investment of 8.3 billion pesos (US $433.6 million), the Barranca Larga-Ventanilla highway will substantially reduce the travel time from Oaxaca city to Puerto Escondido, from six to 2 1/2 hours.
For the Mitla-Tehuantepec highway, López Obrador signed an agreement last year with businessman Carlos Slim, under which companies owned by Slim will build much of the road with an investment of 8 billion pesos, while the federal government will invest 3 billion.
The president has made investing in Mexico’s south and southeast a priority for his administration.
Among the government’s largest infrastructure projects are the development of a trade corridor across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec between Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, construction of a new oil refinery on the Tabasco coast and construction of the Maya Train railroad on the Yucatán Peninsula.