Authorities have announced a massive new infrastructure project that will see the construction of a new bridge to connect Cancun’s hotel zone with the city center. The mega-bridge will help ease congestion and improve access between vital Cancun areas separated by the Nichupte Lagoon.
The new bridge will span more than 8 kilometers in length and will connect Cancun’s Luis Donaldo Colosio Boulevard with the busy Zona Hotelera district, home to most of the area’s resorts. The bridge is mainly designed for motor traffic, although pedestrians and cyclists will have dedicated lanes. When complete, the bridge will help ease congestion in Cancun’s resort district, a growing issue in the area.
According to the Directorate-General for Highways, the estimated budget for the vast project is around 5.5 billion pesos ($273 million U.S dollars), making it one of the largest public investments in the state. Although the original plan foresaw charging drivers, it was later decided that the bridge would be toll-free and completely free for the thousands of people that are expected to cross it daily. As Cancun’s tourist industry continues to grow, a large number of employees commute daily to hundreds of hotels and restaurants, leading to traffic on main roads and avenues.
Tourists are also set to benefit from the new project thanks to a new pathway to Cancun’s hotel area. The busy vacation period sees millions of tourists flock to the area each year. With international travel gaining pace, this summer is expected to be one of the busiest on record with a near-100% occupancy rate in certain Cancun areas. With so many people concentrated in one stretch of resorts, Cancun can feel hectic at times. The current construction plan includes three lanes for motor traffic and another one for pedestrians and cyclists, who can enjoy breathtaking views of the adjacent lagoon.
Construction of the new bridge is estimated to take 550 days, with expected completion sometime in August 2023, although this is subject to change. Moreover, authorities announced that construction would begin as soon as possible, potentially during the first days of July. The bridge has been in the making for some time already, and it was originally announced in January by the Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who praised the economic importance of Cancun and Quintana Roo.
When complete, the new bridge, which is yet to be named, will significantly help bolster the area’s infrastructure. It will address one of nature’s biggest obstacles in the area: the Nichupte Lagoon, a natural lagoon that stands between Cancun’s Zona Hotelera and the city center. With an area of over 3000 hectares, the lagoon is home to a rich variety of natural sights including mangroves. In order to protect the area’s ecology, the bridge’s construction plans have undergone a thorough analysis by environmental agencies and relevant authorities.
The bridge is also vital for emergency purposes, as residents and visitors in the Zona Hotelera may need to be evacuated in case of natural catastrophes such as hurricanes.
The federal government, which announced the new investment, has been planning the upgrade for some time. After a period of detailed analysis and feasibility studies, ICA, a Mexican construction firm, won the bidding process. The final details of the agreement are still in the making, and a definitive contract is expected to be signed this week.
Together with the Tren Maya, the new bridge is part of a wider upgrade of the area’s infrastructure, which includes new roads, highways, and trains.
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