RFQ call for Colombian highway mega-projects 13 Feb 2013
Peter Kenyon, TunnelTalk
The Colombian Government has issued a request for qualifiers for the first phase of a huge road infrastructure investment programme that requires construction of more than 120km of tunnels.
  • Fig 1. Colombia's ambitious roadbuilding programme

    Fig 1. Colombia's ambitious roadbuilding programme

  • Fig 2. US$525 million Mulalo-Loboguerrero alignment

    Fig 2. US$525 million Mulalo-Loboguerrero alignment

The prequalification process, announced last Friday (8 February 2013), will cover the first four of 30 projects that together make up the country's ambitious Fourth Generation of Road Concessions Program.
Total construction costs for the rehabilitation and widening of existing roads and for the construction of tunnels, viaducts, bridges and new stretches of road totalling 8,170km are estimated at US$24.4 billion (Fig 1).
Challenging Andean terrain

Challenging Andean terrain

The concessions will cover seven different geographical corridors, each broken down into a number of smaller packages.
The first four projects, valued at US$2.24 billion, include construction of a brand new 32km single lane mountain road connecting Mulalo and Loboguerrero (Fig 2). Project scope includes 12km of tunnelling - with two major alignments of 5.4km and 3.2km - plus a further 5.7km of bridges and viaducts. This project alone is valued at US$525 million.
This will be followed in April (2013) by a request for prequalifers for what will be one of the world's biggest ever road tunnelling projects - the Autopistas Para La Prosperidad (The Prosperity Highway). Formerly known as the Austopistas de la Montana (The Mountain Highway), and centred upon Colombia's second city, Medellin, total project scope includes 90km of high altitude tunnels and 63km of bridges and viaducts (Fig 3). Construction costs for all 1,160km, much of which will be new-build, of this technically challenging high-altitude Andean road network, is estimated at US$13 billion, although in the first wave of construction investment is expected to be restricted to about 268km (US$2 billion).
Fig 3. 1,160km Prosperity Highway alignment centres on Colombia's second city

Fig 3. 1,160km Prosperity Highway alignment centres on Colombia's second city

"With the launch of the prequalification process, we are kicking off the largest investment program that the country has seen. We are talking about COP44 trillion (USD$24.5 billion) of investment split between 30 projects," said Luis Fernando Andrade, President of the Colombian National Infrastructure Department (ANI) in a press statement.
"Interested parties have two months (until 6 April 2013) to submit expressions of interest in the first four projects and from these we will draw up a list of prequalifiers who will be invited to a bidding stage, which will run for a further six months. It is intended to award all four projects in late September."
Andrade added: "After these first four projects will come a call for prequalifiers for five further concessions for The Prosperity Highway in April. That process will continue until May or June, with awards scheduled before the year's end. The idea is that all the projects will be let by December this year."
ANI says it will prequalify a maximum of 10 consortia, which can be national, international, or both, for the bidding phase.
Tunnels key to Colombia's Mountain Highway - TunnelTalk, November 2011

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