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IDB: Atlantic corridor has a long way to go - Central America, Mexico

Friday, November 08, 2002 15:58 (GMT-0400)

The proposed Atlantic corridor highway through southern Mexico and Central America has a long way to go before it becomes a reality, an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) official told BNamericas.

The corridor, a key part of the Plan Puebla Panama infrastructure master plan for the region, is designed to run from Mexico's gulf port of Coatzacoalcos, across the Yucatan peninsula and down through Central America to the Honduran Pacific coast at the gulf of Fonseca. The Central American portion alone entails 1,174km of paved roads, of which more than 400km would be new roads, with the remainder being existing roads that would be upgraded.

The route crosses five countries, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, and would also require investments to increase traffic capacity at the border crossings. One of these sub-projects would be the possible construction of a bridge between Mexico and Belize at Chetumal, in Mexico's Quintana Roo state, the official confirmed.

However, definite design plans for the corridor are not yet finalized, nor has all the financing been secured, he added. The Central American section carries an estimated price tag of US$453mn; the shorter, flatter Mexican stretch somewhat less.

Previous IDB reports have said that the private sector will be expected to come up with some of the money required, and while the IDB is playing a leading role in studying the project's technical and economic feasibility, it is not the only potential source for financing.

By Dean Ilott

Plan Puebla Panama | |