Colombia unveils the longest road tunnel in Latin America
The East Tunnel, which with 8.5 kilometers (5 miles) in length became the longest road tunnel in operation in Latin America, was inaugurated this Thursday by Colombian President Ivan Duque, who was in charge of leading the first route.
The mega project called the Aburrá East - East Tunnel Road Connection connects the Aburrá Valley Metropolitan Area with the San Nicolás Valley, two strategic regions in the department of Antioquia (northwest).
"It is an emblematic work that shows the best of our engineering and our creative capacity," said Duque at the inauguration, which highlighted the union between the private and public sectors for the achievement of the work that cost about 288 million dollars.
The work was built by the East Tunnel road concession, composed of 74 companies, among others, AIA architects and associated engineers, El Condor, Topco and Estyma. They dug 17,376 meters of tunnels in four years.
Duque, driving one of the vehicles, led a caravan that officially inaugurated the road with the participation of old cars that traveled the project that contemplates the construction of 22.3 kilometers, between tunnels, viaducts and road exchanges.
With the opening of the work, in addition to the 6 kilometers of open-air roads, the time from Medellín to the José María Córdova international airport went from 45 minutes to 18 minutes.
The work begins in Medellín, in the Baltimore sector, on the double carriageway Las Palmas, with a road interchange made up of two viaducts, 176 meters long, which will allow access to the Seminary Tunnel, 800 meters long.
According to its constructors, this mega-build has safety measures: a ventilation system, a fire-fighting system and the construction of an escape route for emergencies, which in the future will function as a second roadway for one-way traffic.
According to the projections of the infrastructure secretary of Antioquia, Gilberto Quintero, through this project "will transit about 16,000 vehicles a day", also allow industrial growth, trade, and tourism.