The construction of Cancun’s new massive vehicular bridge is being delayed by a month due to environmental concerns. Authorities are expecting more information from the company on how to mitigate the bridge’s impact on the surrounding nature. Once complete, the new 8.8-kilometer-long bridge will facilitate access to Cancun’s hotel district and help avoid traffic jams in the popular destination.
Cancun’s new Nichupté vehicular bridge is being delayed by at least a month pending an environmental assessment. Construction was initially planned to begin in early July, but authorities say that project has been halted since June 20 due to insufficient information provided to environmental agencies. Meanwhile, the construction firm is working with officials to determine the full extent of the bridge’s impact on the surrounding lagoon.
According to the latest estimates, the construction of the massive bridge could officially begin on July 27 If the required examination is submitted properly and given the green light from authorities. In the worst-case scenario, the setback could add months worth of delays to the initial estimated completion time, somewhere around mid-2023.
On June 27 authorities had announced the company chosen to build the project and that the groundwork could be laid as soon as July 1. However, the environmental agency has yet to give the all-clear for the project, a prerequisite for undertaking the massive project.
The new bridge is expected to drastically reduce traffic jams in Cancun’s busy hotel district. The area, which is constantly seeing new large resorts built as millions of tourists head there yearly, is suffering from traffic-related congestion. Moreover, thousands of Cancun employees commute daily to the district’s hotels and restaurants, causing further delays. There are currently only two main roads leading to the popular resort district, as well as two exit lanes. As such, the Nichupté bridge would create a new pathway for thousands of road users as well as provide a critical emergency evacuation route in case of natural catastrophes such as hurricanes.
The Nichupté bridge is one of the largest infrastructure projects in recent times, coming in at a cost of over 5.5 billion Mexican pesos. The construction of the 8.8-kilometer-long bridge is expected to take around 550 days, with the official opening sometime around early 2024.
The project has received nationwide attention, with Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador calling it a major milestone for Cancun’s booming economy. Meanwhile, state governor Carlos Joaquín has highlighted the importance of the bridge and hopes that construction will finally commence at the end of the month.
Parallel to the Nichupté bridge, several other large-scale construction projects are being carried out around Cancun, including the overhaul of over 13km of the city’s main road, Colosio boulevard. The renovation will last for over a year and most importantly it may disrupt traffic leading to and from Cancun airport.
Semarnat, the environmental and natural resources public agency, says that it has not received sufficient evidence of the environmental impact of the new bridge. Although ICA – the construction company that won the bidding process to build the new bridge – had submitted an evaluation of potential environmental consequences, road and traffic authorities consider that a more proper study needs to be completed.
Mexican law states that no new infrastructure projects can kick off until a comprehensive risk analysis is conducted. In order to receive authorization from the corresponding officials, construction firms must comply with the necessary criteria and risk assessment measures.
Meanwhile, authorities say that the initial environmental impact assessment was received earlier in February this year. However, further details were requested on 10 May, but those have yet to be handed in. As a result, the construction project was put on hold to allow the company to provide further information.
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