Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Status of Northern Transversal Highway Unknown

Despite the fact that President Alvaro Colom promised the start of construction of the road in the Northern Transversal Highway in March of 2009, the project has still not come to Congress to be analyzed and approved.

Two weeks ago, the Minister for Communications, Luis Alejos said that the proposal for construction of the road was taken to the General Secretariat of the Presidency so that Colom could have a good look at it before sending it to Congress. At that time, Alejos said "Everything is a matter of formality." However, Carlos Larios, the Secretary General, was unable to explain what state the megaproject is in. "I do not even have that information. Nothing is ready yet," he said.

The project envisions the construction of 329.5 kilometers of asphalt, from Finca Trinidad in Nentón, Huehuetenango, following the border between that department and Quiché, and finally arriving at Modesto Méndez in Izabal.

The megaproject is divided into five sections and will provide significant benefits to the 170 villages, 11 municipalities, and 1.6 million people along the route.

Late last year, the El Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica (BCIE) approved funding for construction of the "Franja Transversal del Norte", and a loan for $201 million, which includes funding for design, supervision, management of the right of way, and construction.

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