Turning the Page on the Mexican Road Network

The national road system is composed of more than 377,659km of which 49,652km make up the federal system. According to WEF, Mexico ranks 52 of 138 in road infrastructure competitiveness, CANACAR has identified a 150,000km road deficit and McKinsey Global Institute says that the country must invest an additional 1.1 percent of its GDP to bridge the infrastructure gap.

The Peña Nieto administration’s goal was to transform Mexico into a world class logistics hub and various roads were tendered under PPP schemes, the first unsolicited proposal was approved and the use of PPPs for conservation and maintenance was established. Nevertheless, there is still work to be done, and AMLO’s upcoming administration, which looks to also boost the country’s logistics infrastructure and economic development, has many tools to strengthen the country’s road system.

This blog series will go back in time to recount the history of some of Mexico’s most important highways, from who constructed it, financed it to the challenges that were faced during construction.


Mexico’s First Toll Roads

In 1952, President Miguel Aleman worked with SCT to construct the first two segments of the Mexico-Acapulco highway, the first toll roads in Mexico. The first segment to be constructed was the Mexico City-Cuernavaca highway, with a length of 61.5km and a cost of over MX$100 billion. The second segment was the Mexico-Acapulco highway, inaugurated a few day later. This segment had a length of 52.5km from Amacuzac, Morelos to Iguala with a liberated ROW of 20m on each side. Both segments were constructed by Compañía Constructora del Sur of which NAFIN held majority stake. As the first toll road in Mexico, the calculation of the tolls was a new task for SCT. Two tolls were established for each of the segments and were divided according to the type of vehicle.

Source: Jujutacular Wikipedia Commons

La Autopista del Sol

In 1994 Carlos Salinas de Gortari inaugurated the Mexico-Acapulco highway, also known as Autopista del Sol. This interconnected Iguala, Chilpancingo and Acapulco. It was constructed by ICA, GMD and Tribasa (now Pinfra) under a PPP scheme and had an initial cost of MX$800 billion, which by the end of constructed increased by 275 percent to a final price tag of MX$2.2 trillion. Like any other road project in Mexico, right of way, winding terrains, and design increased costs and time. But the costliest construction was Puente Mezcala due to a joint hydroelectric dam project which was never completed.

In 2007 the project was restructured due to O&M company GUTSA’s infringement of the original contract where it failed to rehabilitate 60km of the highway. The conservation and maintenance of the highway was handed over to CAPUFE in 2008. According to SCT approximately MX$53 billion has been invested from 2010 to 2013 to reconstruct and modernize the highway and bridges of the Autopista del Sol.

The Road Ahead

Highway construction and conservation is expensive, especially given Mexico’s terrain. The use of PPPs to develop the country’s network add value, but the development of clear rules and contracts is important to ensure the quality of the highways and service provided by concessionaries.

The Autopista del Sol is one of the most transited highways in Mexico, with great potential as a PPP. This year Banobras announced it would be placing several CAPUFE roads under maintenance, rehabilitation and operation (MRO) contracts to boost the quality of the network.

Here are the latest MROs awarded:

Tampico-Ciudad Victoria: APP Tamaulipas Consorcio

  • Construcciones y Mantenimiento Roca
  • Desarrollo y Construcciones Urbanas
  • Grupo Rio San Juan
  • Grupo R Exploración Marina

Campeche-Mérida: Consorcio Carretero Campeche-Mérida

  • Calzada Construcciones
  • Construcciones y Dragados del Sureste
  • Construcciones Urales
  • Cointer Concesione México
  • ICAPSA Infraestructura de Desarrollo

Arriaga-Tapachula: APP Arriaga-Tapachula

  • Impulsora de desarrollo integral

San Luis Potosí-Matehuala

  • Omega Construcciones

The supervision of the MRO contracts, Administrator Supervision Agent (ASS), was awarded to Ayesa Mexico. It will be responsible for the supervision of 523 km of toll roads known as the Southeast package including six segments from Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche and Chiapas.


Sources: Obrasweb, GMD, La Jornada, Mario Contreras Valdez,

Source: Mexico Infrastructure and Urban Sustainability Review 2017


Tagged with →  
Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *