Project delayed 14 months due to archaeological finds
With a parade of antique cars and the presence of municipal authorities, the tunnel underpass of Avenida Colombia was officially opened Thursday morning after 28 months of work.
Cali mayor Rodrigo Guerrero Velasco was accompanied by the president of the Cali Chamber of Commerce, Roberto Arango and Emcali manager, Ramiro Tafur, in the early morning ceremony.
“This is i a demonstration that in Cali we are capable of many things. There is no reason to think why we can’t, because this project shows otherwise”, said Guerrero during the inauguration.
The local leader said: “This is a very important day for all of us because it is a work that has been done with the effort of all Caleños”.
The Avenida Colombia project that began in Janary 2011 and cost 61 billion Colombian pesos. The road runs almost one kilometre (980 metres) that includes a tunnel spanning 686 metres, the largest in urban areas in the country.
During the next 30 days, Avenida Colombia will be having a trial period, meaning the tunnel is open to the public only between 5am and 10pm, as work crews use the night hours to make adjustments that may be needed.
Once Avenida Colombia is fully open there will be changes to traffic flow, explains Adalbert Clavijo of the Cali Transit police.
Avenida Colombia was originally built in the 1930’s. The project to build an underpass or tunnel began in September 2010, when the city began to evaluate the costs that were estimated at 47 billion pesos.
In January 2011, excavation crews began digging up the Avenida Colombia, starting at Puente Ortiz. The work continued without any major obstacles for four months, until the first archaeological finds were made on Calle 8, putting the brakes on the project for 14 months.
In September 2012 the last historical vestiges of Avenida Colombia were removed and the project could again resume.