Colombia opened South America’s longest road tunnel, the Tunel de la Linea, on Friday after more than a decade of construction work. The tunnel, which is 8.65 km long, aims to reduce the time and cost of moving goods from the Pacific port city of Buenaventura to the centre of the country.
“This is a triumph of a persevering, intense, working, dreaming and desire-realizing Colombia,” President Ivan Duque said at the opening ceremony.
The project, which runs through the central range of the Andes in the country’s west, cost more than 1 trillion pesos, or about US$ 270 million.
The project demanded the delivery of nearly 700 000 m3 of specialized and high-strength concretes (equivalent to about 110 000 trips of mixer trucks, which if parked in a row would represent travelling almost three times the distance between Medellín and Bogotá) and more than 220 000 tons of cement.
La Línea Tunnel is one of the most important infrastructure works in Colombia and now the longest tunnel in Latin America.
Due to its 8.65 km in length, the project is positioned in the ranking of the 20 longest road tunnels in the world. More than 6000 jobs were created during its construction.
It has 17 connection galleries every 500 m that allow the main tunnel to be connected to the rescue tunnel to guarantee safe evacuation in the event of any contingency.
With the delivery of the first phase of the Line Tunnel and its complementary works, it is estimated that, in total, users will save 20 km of travel between the west and the centre of the country, equivalent to reducing their travel times by 50 minutes. When the work is completely finished, the saving in total travel time will be 1 hour and 20 minutes.