The Inter-American Development Bank has approved a $53 million loan to finance the construction of a 45.6 km alternate route between the localities of San Francisco and Mocoa, in the Putumayo, that will contribute to southern Colombia's economic and social development and to its integration with neighboring countries.
The new route will replace an older section whose rehabilitation would be too costly and environmentally inappropriate with a more direct, shorter segment, cutting on travel time and costs and improving the efficiency and safety of the Tumaco-Pasto-Mocoa road corridor.
After work is completed, the connection between the localities, which is now closed between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., will be open to traffic 24 hours a day. Other expected results include cutting San Francisco-Mocoa travel time from 2.5 hours to 1.5 hours; and average number of accidents from 23 to 12 per year.
At the same time, as a compensation measure for the environmental impacts of the road construction and operation, the project will finance the increase of regional protected areas from 35,000 hectares to 65,000 hectares. Other key features of these environmental compensation measures include the creation of the Mocoa Water Theme Park and reforestation of more than 1,000 hectares.
These moves will boost the area's sustainable development and its physical and economic integration with Colombia's main production and consumption centers as well as with those in Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil, while shortening the Pasto-Mocoa-Bogota route from 800 km to 730 km and travel time from 18 hours to 14 hours.
In addition, the project’s sustainable regional integration framework will promote conservation of the region’s protected areas through better land use, the social and productive development of communities in its area of influence, and control over the spreading of the inappropriate use of natural resources.
The Bank's loan is for a 25-year term, with an eight-year grace period and a LIBOR-based variable interest rate. The government of Colombia will provide $150 million in local counterpart funds.