Bucaramanga-Barrancabermeja-Yondo highway is a 236km-long road corridor being developed by Colombia’s National Infrastructure Agency (ANI).

The new toll highway is mainly intended to improve connections between Bucaramanga and Barrancabermeja with the municipality of Yondó. It will also improve the link between eastern Colombia and the main oil-producing regions in the country.

The project is part of the second phase of the 4G programme, which aims to improve the country’s highway connectivity through public-private partnerships.

The Bucaramanga-Barrancabermeja-Yondo highway project received the Latin America Transport Deal of the Year award at the IJGlobal Awards event held in March 2018.

Construction of the project commenced in 2015 and is expected to be completed in 2021. Upon its completion, Ruta del Cacao concessionaire will be responsible for operating the new toll road for 25 years.

The highway is intended to enhance traffic conditions, strengthen economic development and improve the local supply chain in eastern Colombia. It will also create approximately 4,900 jobs.

Bucaramanga-Barrancabermeja-Yondo highway details

In order to create a new corridor, the Bucaramanga-Barrancabermeja-Yondó highway project will include the rehabilitation and improvement of the existing road.

The highway will be 236km long, including an 82km stretch of new road with two lanes in each direction between Bucaramanga and Barrancabermeja.

It will also feature two tunnels with a total length of 5.96km and 34 new viaducts and bridges.

Emergency services on Bucaramanga-Barrancabermeja-Yondo highway

All required emergency services will be provided across the route in important attempts to enhance passenger safety. Emergency services will be available throughout the year in case of landslides and floods.

The highway will feature two patient transfer units (TAM), which will be equipped with high-end technology and response capacity for emergencies.

A free crane service to move cars and a free workshop car service will be provided to the toll road users.

The operator will perform vehicle load control in order to preserve the quality and infrastructure of the road. Two operation bases will be set up to monitor the road and respond during accidents.

Toll and communication systems

A new control centre will monitor and control the smart transport, safety and toll collection systems for the highway. It will feature electronic tolls, allowing drivers to travel up to speeds of 80km/h without stopping.

The highway will also be installed with communication, security and intelligent traffic systems. It will feature CCTV, traffic counters, SOS posts, road signage, incident detection and lighting control.

Financing of Bucaramanga-Barrancabermeja-Yondo highway

“The project is part of the second phase of the 4G programme, which aims to improve the country’s highway connectivity through public-private partnerships.”

The total estimated investment of the project is €880m ($971.7m). In November 2018, Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest) provided funding of $86m to the concessionaire Ruta del Cacao to improve highway connectivity in Colombia.

Ferrovial achieved financial closure of the road project with a group of six financial institutions in November 2018. The credit syndicate includes BBVA Colombia, Bancolombia, Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN), IDB Invest, BlackRock and Unión para la Infraestructura (UPLI).

Ferrovial sold an 11.7% stake in the project to John Laing for €28.6m ($31.7m), bringing the former’s stake in the road to 30%.

Contractors involved

In July 2015, ANI selected Ruta del Cacao concessionaire for the design, construction, finance and operation of the Bucaramanga-Barrancabermeja-Yondo highway.

The concessionaire comprises Ferrovial, Cintra Infraestructuras, Ashmore Group and Mercantil Colpatria. The contract includes a 25-year concession with an additional option for a four-year extension.

Indra secured a €10.5m ($11.6m) contract for supplying the traffic management technology, intelligent transport systems (ITS), communications and toll systems for the highway in July 2019.

BAC Engineering Consultancy Group performed geotechnical tests of the road.