The Ruta del Cacao is a complex road measuring 154 kilometers long, 95 of which are dual carriageway. It has 2 newly created tunnels, 2 existing ones, and 21 bridges and viaducts, all linking the cities of Bucaramanga (the capital of the region) and Barrancabermeja on the banks of the Magdalena River. This piece of infrastructure shortens the distance between these two cities, bridging geological issues and offering a strategic corridor for transportation in the eastern part of the country.
The two tunnels, La Sorda and La Paz, measure 5.96 kilometers long. Their construction makes it possible to bypass the steep terrain of Serranía de La Paz, which the new road, bridges, and viaducts run through. The project has remodeled and improved on part of the existing road, and a new road that will improve traffic in the region is currently under construction.
Located in the heart of Colombia, the Ruta del Cacao highway generates strategic and competitive connections that connect the center of the country with the Caribbean coast, linking the departments of Antioquia and Santander. This road contributes to the economic development of the area, and it boosts employment and the supply chain in eastern Colombia. Currently, more than 2,200 people are linked to the project, and more than 8,600 jobs have been creating during construction on it. About 70% of the workers during this stage were locals residing in the project’s area of influence.
The contract was awarded in 2015, and the project is scheduled to be completed in 2022, despite the difficulties stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the strict security protocols implemented, the Ruta del Cacao was the first project in Colombia to start up again.
Commitment to the community
One of the most outstanding actions at the social level is financial assistance and service for some 46 people who are refocusing their activity as street vendors and finding new economic livelihoods through a new profession. The concession provides them with utensils and materials to create small businesses as an alternative to and foundation for their jobs as “street vendors” on the road; in this way, we’re contributing to the security and protection of both their safety and that of the drivers of the corridor.
Remodeling and creating schools in the corridor
Nueva Bélgica School
The construction of a school with a capacity for 40 students in the town of El Tapazón in the municipality of Betulia-Santander measuring more than 4,000 m2, with an investment of €333,000. This school has 2 classrooms to give classes, a multipurpose room, a computer room, a library, a room for teachers, a dining room, 5 bathrooms, a court for sports, a park, a garden, and an enclosure that guarantees the safety of students.
Pozo Nutrias School, Headquarter “J” Los Ángeles
The construction of a new school with a capacity for 60 students with more than 10,000 m2, with an investment of €238,000. It has 3 classrooms, a multipurpose room, a computer lab, a library, a room for teachers, a gym, 6 bathrooms, 2 showers, a court for sports, a park, a garden, and an enclosure.
Assembly hall of La Fortuna School
The construction a new assembly hall measuring 170 m2 with an investment of €55,000, which has a living room, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, a stage, a parking lot, and storage.
Delivery of three homes to families who lived in a high-risk area in Tienda Nueva, Betulia.
The joining of efforts and the agreement with the Municipal Administration of Betulia and the support from the Santander Risk Management Office have made it possible to deliver a decent, safe place for families who were in areas at risk due to floods. These homes were built in record time, two and a half months, with an investment of €41,000. Each house covers 60 m2 and has 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. The Ruta del Cacao project improves living conditions for inhabitants of the highway’s area of influence. Thanks to this initiative, these families will be able to live in a safe, comfortable, quiet place.
A program for the improvement and availability of water in collaboration with the NGO Action Against Hunger
The project, carried out in collaboration with Action Against Hunger at the end of 2021, currently has made 95% progress. Thanks to an investment of 486 million Colombian pesos (just over €109,000), 350 people belonging to 79 families will have access to drinking water. The communities of the towns of Villa María, El Pozo, and San Silvestre, located in the municipality of Lebrija, will be the major beneficiaries.
The formation of an associative group for managing the water resource to maintain the infrastructure and operation of the built system has turned out to be a key piece in the process. The trainings carried out on different topics for comprehensive water management and quality monitoring to verify that it is suitable for human consumption roudn out the tasks on which this initiative has focused.
As for environmental management, native species have been replanted: 40 Colombian mahoganies, 200 cococunas, and 681 holywoods, boxtrees, cedars, monkey pods, and Pseudosamanea guachapele. In addition, more than 4,098 epiphytic plants and 15,959 brinzals have been rescued and preserved in a nursery for later relocation.