Construction of the new freeway between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta continues at a snail’s pace, but the Communications and Transportation Secretariat (SCT) insists it will be finished by 2018.
The first stage, between Jala and Compostela, was to be operational at the end of last year, according to the Jalisco Secretary of Tourism, but that target was not met.
The 156-kilometer project, initiated in December 2011, has been proceeding at a rate of just 5.16 kilometers a year, according to a report by Reforma. However, contracts have now been awarded for 78 kilometers, with two stretches of highway in Nayarit to be awarded this month.
SCT representative Bernardo Gutiérrez said progress has been slow due to the complexity of the project and funding cutbacks. Contributing to the complexity are environmental issues — the highway runs through a jaguar protection area — and the mountainous terrain, requiring the construction of tunnels.
Once completed, the new highway will reduce the travel time between Guadalajara and Bucerías, a town to the north of Puerto Vallarta, from about five hours to two and a half.