International invitation to tender, deadline 13th May, 2008 for construction of the Durango-Mazatlí¡n highway from Km 111+000 to Km 156+956. This section includes 28 tunnels and 14 bridges. It will take 1,292 days, which means the section must be completed in 2011. Work is programmed to commence on 26th June. The project is part of the national infrastructure plan to connect the country's Pacific coast to the Gulf of Mexico and also aims to position Mexico as a vital link for Asia-US trade by serving as a competitive option to the Panama Canal. The highway is expected to become Mexico's third most important continental entrance for Asian imports to the US, along with the Manzanillo and Lí¡zaro Cí¡rdenas ports, in western Colima and Michoací¡n states, respectively. The 1,250 km highway runs from Mazatlí¡n municipality in Sinaloa state, eastwards to the Durango state capital of the same name, crossing the Sierra Madre mountain range in western Mexico. Visit http://dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5016478 11/08.The Secretariat for communications and transport (SCT) has awarded three civil works contracts to complete the Durango-Mazatlí¡n highway. The three contracts have a value MXP8,721 million and the project has to be completed in early 2012. The highway is one of the biggest and costliest infrastructure project in the country because it crosses the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, which requires the construction of numerous tunnels and bridges. The Durango-Mazatlí¡n highway will connect the Pacific coast of Mexico with the centre and north of the country and then with the Gulf of Mexico. In all, the highway stretches for 230 kilometres and will have 63 tunnels, 115 structures and the Baluarte bridge, which will cross the Baluarte river at an height of 394 metres. The highway will link the major corridors in the north and centre of the country: Mazatlí¡n-Durango-Torreí³n-Saltillo-Monterrey-Matamoros and Mazatlí¡n-Durango-Zacatecas-San Luis Potosí-Tampico. Visit www.sct.gob.mxA Mexican-Spanish consortium comprising Mexican firms Omega Corp and Concesiones Aldesem, and Spanish company Aldesa Construcciones won the first, MXP3,971 million contract, which includes the construction of 45.9 km of two-lane highway (12 m wide) from 111+000 to km 156+956 (from Las Adjuntas to Baluarte bridge), including 26 tunnels and 14 bridges. The entire section is situated in Durango state. Omega Corp. will sign the contract on 4th August. Work is scheduled to start on 12th August and is expected to take 3.5 years. Visit www.grupo-omega.com and www.aldesa.es 32-33/08.The second contract, from km 158+080 to km 168+400, has been awarded to a consortium of companies formed by Tradeco Operacií³n Internacional, Tradeco Industrial, Innovaciones Técnicas en Cimentacií³n, Marcadores de Pavimento and Condux. The works included in the contract are as follows: 10.3 kilometres of roadway, 15 tunnels and six bridges. All the works will be located in the state of Sinaloa. The contract is worth MXP2,560 million and has to be completed within 1,098 calendar days. Visit www.tradeco.com.mx 32-33/08.The third contract, from km 168+400 to km 186+300, involves the construction of 17.9 kilometres of road, 16 tunnels and 12 bridges. The contract has been scooped by FCC in joint venture with La Peninsular. The amount of the contract is MXP2,190 million, with a time frame of 1,183 calendar days to finish the job. Visit www.fcc.es 32-33/08.The communication and transport ministry (SCT) awarded this summer three contracts worth a total of MXP8.22 billion to complete the final section of the Durango-Mazatlí¡n highway. The first contract was awarded to a consortium led by Mexican construction firm Omega Corp. with a price tag of MXP3.97 billion. The second contract went to a consortium made up of Spain's FCC and Mexico's La Peninsular for MXP2.19 billion. The remaining contract was awarded to Mexico's Tradeco Industrial for MXP2.06 billion. The first stage of the highway includes a single carriageway, 12 m wide, and the second carriageway will be built in a second phase. The contracts involve only the first stage. Click mx/21.Given the geography of this mountainous area, the highway requires many tunnels and bridges. Altogether, 57 short single-tube tunnels will be built, representing a total length of 18.3 km. The only tunnel to exceed one kilometre in length is El Sinaloense (2,794 m). To see the list of the tunnels in each contract, click here. Once completed, travel time on the highway will drop from six hours to two and a half hours. 41/08.