THE PROJECT: Modernize
a stretch of road from Mazatlán
to Durango, México
THE SCHEDULE: 2009
THE BUDGET: US$1.2 billion
For decades, drivers have had
a devil of a time traveling
between the cities of Mazatlán
and Durango. The treacherous 8-hour journey requires
passing through a desolate
stretch of the Sierra Madre
range ominously known as the
Looking to provide easy access to
and from the Pacific Coast, the Mexican
government initiated a massive revamp
project aimed at slashing travel time
down to two and half hours.
The current roadway first opened in the
1940s. Back then, supplies had to be
brought in by mule—drawing out construction 15 years. By comparison, the
45 miles (72.4 kilometers) of new road
are estimated to take only three years.
“This is going to be a marvel, something really world-class,” construction
manager Miguel Angel Ramírez told
USA Today in April.
The number of tunnels
under construction for
When complete, the Baluarte River
Bridge will not only rank as the
highest bridge in North America
but the highest cable-stayed bridge
in the world, surpassing the Mil-
lau Viaduct in France, according to
PHOTO COURTESY OF GRUPO TRIADA
ON THE STRAIGHT
The isolated location of Devil’s Backbone has severely limited job opportunities, often pushing residents into
gangs and drug-running. Sponsors
say they hope the highway project
will bring law and order to the region
by opening up its cities to industry—
creating employment and making it
easier for police to monitor the area.
“The more jobs we can bring to these areas, the
more we’ll reduce crime,” tunneling supervisor Nicolás
Velíz told USA Today.
Local stakeholders have already praised the project for the boost it brought to the economy, providing
construction jobs and increasing revenue at the towns’
shops, according to the paper.
The much-needed highway project could be just
what it takes to get a poverty-stricken part of México
on the road to a prosperous future.
The number of bridges
that will be built as
part of the highway
Almost 11 miles ( 18 kilometers) of the new road will run
underground through more than 60 tunnels.
GORGING ON BRIDGES
The project calls for more than 30 bridges, including
one spanning the majestic 1,280-foot (390-meter) -high
Baluarte Gorge. Construction will stem from single towers on each side of the gorge and fan outward in both
directions. So far the bridge has required an estimated
103,000 tons of cement and about 17,000 tons of steel.