The El Monteon (north of Lo de Marcos) to El Capomo segment of the Jala-Vallarta autopista (highway) opened last year, and has already made for a reduction in time and an increase in safety for travelers. But it was still a grind, getting the rest of the way to Banderas Bay.
This latest segment of the toll road, south from El Monteon to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, is a modern marvel of engineering; over, under and along some of the most challenging terrain imaginable. It includes numerous tunnels, bridges and viaducts, as well as a number of strategically located “critter-crossing” tunnels and bridges to mitigate impact on wildlife migration.
So when will this segment commence operations?
Many projected completion dates have come and gone over the years. Challenges over rights of way, environmental issues, contractual concerns, and (oh yes) Covid have combined to result in a protracted construction period.
However, the major challenges have been overcome, and its mostly the relatively “easy stuff” which remains — a small amount of asphalt topping and erosion protection, guardrails, signage, lighting, toll booths, etcetera. Your correspondent predicts that this critical section of Autopista 70D will be up and running by the Spring of 2023, if not sooner.