Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Budget cuts and environmental issues have delayed the construction of the new Guadalajara-Puerto Vallarta highway, but the Communications and Transportation Secretariat (SCT) asserts it will be finished by 2018.
The 156-kilometer project, initiated in December 2011, has been proceeding at a rate of just 5.16 kilometers a year.
At this point in time, the first stage, a 67.9 kilometer stretch between Jala and Compostela, is only 38 percent complete.
According to Jalisco's SCT delegate, Bernardo Gutiérrez, different segments of the new road have advanced at 'different speeds' subject to the complexity of the work. So far, he calculated, the sections of the new highway to Puerto Vallarta that have fewer curves have advanced at a rate of around 50 percent - but he wasn't talking about just the completion of construction.
"We already have, between contracted and completed works, a road to the municipality of Las Varas, and another from Jala to Varas. And this month we have awarded the contract for the road from Las Varas to Bucerías, which includes the highway to Puerto Vallarta," he said. "That is to say, 78 of the 156 kilometers that the new highway will comprise have been ascertained."
Gutiérrez pointed out that the road's progress has been delayed due to the complexity of the project and funding cut backs. Contributing to the complexity are environmental concerns: the highway runs through a jaguar protection area, and mountainous terrain, which requires the construction of tunnels.
Once completed, the new highway will reduce the travel time between Guadalajara and Bucerías, a town to the north of Puerto Vallarta, from about five hours to just under three.Original article translated and edited by Ricardo Acerco for BanderasNews.com.