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guanajuato-san miguel de allende highway New highway project has not been canceled, says Public Works Secretary.

New route planned for Guanajuato-SMA

Objections by indigenous communities have led to a modification of new freeway

Transportation officials in Guanajuato plan to tender for a second time a new toll freeway linking the cities of Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende.

Public Works Secretary Arturo Durán Miranda said a new route has been devised so as to avoid crossing the land of indigenous communities in the municipality of San Miguel de Allende, an issue that put a stop to the first freeway plan.

A federal judge had suspended the project in 2013 after an amparo, or injunction, had been sought by the Otomí people of 23 communities.

They claimed the highway would divide their communities and adversely affect the cultural heritage of 15,000 people.

Also threatened were an archaeological zone known as Cruz del Palmar, some houses and a school, and it was alleged that the project lacked an environmental impact study.

The federal Secretariat of Communications and Transportation has canceled the international call for tenders that was issued in July 2013 for the construction and operation of a 70-kilometer highway for a period of 30 years.

Durán Miranda said the cancelation was only a legal requirement and did not mean the project was canceled. Changing the highway’s route, he said, meant a new call for tenders was necessary.

The change will modify a 20-kilometer stretch of the route. Instead of connecting the two cities directly, it will now link up with the San Miguel-Dolores Hidalgo highway some seven kilometers from the point where the new highway had originally been designed to terminate.

The Public Works Secretary said the new plan is very similar to what the indigenous communities had wanted when they applied for the amparo.

He said the call for bids should take place next year after further studies have been completed.

The original project was to have cost more than 2 billion pesos (about US $155 million in 2013). It was not reported what the new cost is expected to be.

Source: Periódico Correo (sp), Reforma (sp), La Jornada (sp)

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