Over 40% of Colombia's infra projects face delays

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Of the 94 infrastructure projects Colombian government agencies handle, 41% face significant delays. Some contracts are being terminated and others still need funding.

According to government infrastructure management platform GPI, which keeps track of all infrastructure projects handled by government agencies such as ANI, Invias, Cormagdalena and AEROCIVIL, some works scheduled to be finished by the end of 2018 have made little progress.

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One of the most significant projects in the database is the new Pumarejo bridge, which has advanced 71%, even though it was expected to be finished by December 31. In November, Invias head Juan Esteban Gil said that the government is working to secure 840bn pesos (US$264mn) to finish strategic projects like this.

The first section of the Ruta del Sol highway is also delayed. So far it has advanced 78%, versus the 84% expected for the end of the year. At the highway's third section, 30% of works are complete versus 58% expected for end-2018.

In the case of the 4G highway program, following the financial problems of concessionaire Aliadas Para el Progreso, the 3tn-peso Santana-Mocoa-Neiva highway has only advanced 5.2%. Now the government is seeking a new contractor.

Deputy infrastructure minister Manuel Gutierrez told daily Portafolio that some of the delayed projects have started to advance.

He added that the government will activate a "reactivation room" for projects such as the Pumarejo bridge, similar to the "war room" set up last year to speed up 4G highways.

This mechanism would mostly deal with delays related to environmental licenses, land purchases and local opposition groups.

This year, GPI's portfolio will grow even more. Entrants are the new Bogotá airport and the expansion of Cartagena's airport, both handled by ANI.

Meanwhile, the government has claimed that the previous administration, which left office in August, didn't leave enough resources for infrastructure programs.