BOGOTA – Colombia’s government and China’s APCA Transmimetro consortium, which was selected last month to build Bogota’s first metro line and operate it under a 20-year concession, signed the contract for that project on Wednesday.
The work on the elevated rail line will require an investment outlay of more than 12 trillion pesos (some $3.4 billion).
“There’s no turning back now on the metro, and its formal construction begins. The transformation of our capital begins. The biggest investment in the city’s history will be carried out and it’s the launching of 60,000 dreams, (those of) the workers who will be joining this project,” President Ivan Duque said at the signing ceremony.
The consortium consists of China Harbour Engineering Company Limited and Xi’An Metro Company Limited, which in October beat out a rival made up of Spain’s FCC Concesiones de Infraestructura and Mexico’s Carso Infraestructura y Construccion and Promotora del Desarrollo de America Latina.
APCA Transmimetro was selected after submitting a lower bid for the project, which has been under discussion for more than 60 years.
“This project will change life in Bogota forever, because it’s not just a metro line,” Duque said at the ceremony, which the capital city’s mayor, Enrique Peñalosa, also attended.
The president was referring to other upcoming bidding processes for two TransMilenio bus system trunk lines, which will feed the metro and create an inter-modal mass transit system that “will improve citizens’ quality of life.”
The Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank all have approved financing for the project.
To date, the only metro in Colombia is a two-line system that is located in Medellin – capital of the northwestern province of Antioquia and the country’s second-largest city – and began operating on Nov. 30, 1995.
Plans for a metro system in Bogota date back more than a half-century, but the projects were never brought to fruition even though different mayors had commissioned technical studies.
The project will contribute to “urban embellishment and reinforcement in different parts of the city, which will experience property appreciation,” Duque said.
The metro line, which will have 16 stations, traverse nine neighborhoods and cover a distance of 23.9 kilometers (14.9 miles), will have the capacity to transport 72,000 passengers per hour in each direction, or more than 1 million passengers per day.