Riviera Nayarit, Mexico - A new 5-billion-peso (US $269 million) stretch of highway in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit will help to reduce travel time between Guadalajara and the resort city of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.
The four-lane, 54-kilometer road runs between the municipalities of Jala and Compostela, cutting the journey between the two tourist destinations to just over 30 minutes.
An additional 14-kilometer stretch of road goes into the center of the second of the two Pueblos Mágicos, or magic towns.
The federal Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) estimates that more than 6,400 vehicles will use the new road on a daily basis and it will benefit 110,000 residents who live in the Banderas Bay region.
At an official opening ceremony on Tuesday, President Enrique Peña Nieto said that 39 of 52 highway projects his administration committed to build have now been completed.
"This government has gone to work and it has fulfilled [its commitments], that is what we have done in the whole country," he said.
The president also recognized the impact that the new highway will have on improving connectivity between the states of Jalisco and Nayarit.
Both Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta will receive a boost in tourist numbers similar to when the highway between Mexico City and Acapulco first opened, Peña Nieto said.
Federal Transportation Secretary Gerardo Ruiz Esparza added that the new highway will help to reduce the number of accidents in the region. Ruiz also recognized the efforts of the construction companies that worked on the project and praised the contribution of the state-owned development bank Banobras and the National Infrastructure Fund (Fonadin).
Ruiz said that another new stretch of highway in Nayarit between Las Varas and Compostela is 90% complete and will open in July and that construction of the 90-kilometer Las Varas-Vallarta highway will start soon.
The transportation chief said the federal government has allocated more than 20 billion pesos to the state to undertake long-awaited highway projects.
When other new sections of highway in Nayarit have been completed, the travel time between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta will be reduced from about five hours to around two and a half.
The governors of Nayarit and Jalisco also attended Tuesdays opening ceremony and spoke of the economic, safety and time-saving benefits that the new highway will bring.Sources: Transportes y Turismo • Milenio