Located in Antioquia Department, the Magdalena River Highway 2 (the Project) is a key communication link connecting the department with the Magdalena River and providing an outlet to the Atlantic coast through integration with the Vías del Nus, Conexión Norte, and Ruta del Sol projects.
The project is divided into functional units (Unidades Funcionales - UF) and includes the construction of a new 37 km road between Remedios and Vegachí (UF01), a new 35 km road between Vegachí and Alto de Dolores (UF02), the rehabilitation and improvement of the existing 49 km road between Alto de Dolores and Puerto Berrio (UF03), the construction of a 15 km alternate route in Puerto Berrío (UF04a), and improvements along 10 km of the connection between the alternate to Puerto Berrío and the Ruta del Sol (UF04b)). The project also includes the construction of 42 small bridges and a 1.5 km long bridge over the Magdalena River.
The IIC’s participation in the financing will help to supplement long-term US dollar financing for the project, in collaboration with international commercial banks and local banks contributing financing in Colombian pesos.
In accordance with the IIC Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy, this project has been classified as a Category “A” project.
Specifically, the sections with new construction: functional units 01 (UF01) connecting Remedios with Vegachí; UF02 between Vegachí and Alto de Dolores; and UF04 (Puerto Berrío alternate route), will generate negative environmental impacts common to the execution of linear construction works. Among the latter the following can be included: i) soil erosion and contamination due to sedimentation in water courses; ii) generation of dust and noise from the movement of heavy equipment; removal of vegetation and effects on wilderness areas from the construction of service roads (for the new sections) or communities’ access roads; iii) disruptions in vehicular traffic, particularly in the sections to be rehabilitated; iv) increased collisions with indigenous and introduced fauna, primarily during the operational phase; v) impacts on vulnerable populations due to poor location of camps and industrial areas; vi) conflicts with local communities due to the use foreign construction crews in the project; vii) increased social tensions due to interactions between workers and rural communities (temporary interference in some customs, conflicts over resources, pressure on housing demand, emergence of food businesses, or the opening of outlets for the sale of alcoholic beverages); viii) increased risks of accidents; and ix) disruptions in the mobility of pedestrians and vehicles. All these impacts are deemed to be localized, of average intensity and highly reversible if good construction practices and appropriate control measures are implemented.
Given the environmental characteristics of the areas, some impacts (soil erosion and contamination of bodies of water) could be magnified by the physical characteristics of road, specifically when crossing mountainous areas and affecting remnants of native vegetation. The rehabilitation works will be carried out within the existing right of way, with no major changes anticipated in road’s alignments or substantial corrections in curves and vertical slopes. In this sense, the environmental impacts generated will be typical of construction activities and can be managed with already known management practices that are included in the respective Plans for Adapting to Environmental Guidelines (Planes de Adaptación a las Guías Ambientales – PAGA).
The Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) required by Colombian legislation for UF01, UF02, and UF04a have been approved by the National Environmental Licenses Authority (Autoridad Nacional de Licencias Ambientales - ANLA) and the corresponding licenses have been issued and are in effect. The PAGAs for UF03 and UF04b have been approved by the Project Supervisor (Interventoría). Both the EIAs and the PAGAs have the following plans and programs for managing adverse impacts: i) Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) for the biotic environment; ii) ESMP for the abiotic environment; iii) ESMP for the social environment; iv) Plan for Exiting and Restoring Intervened Areas; v) 1% Investment Plan for UFs that need it; and vi) Waste Management Plan.
The IIC intends to contract an Independent Environmental and Social Consultant to assist in the Environmental and Social Due Diligence (ESDD) process, evaluate probable environmental risks, confirm the project’s categorization, evaluate management plans for mitigating risks, and define an environmental and social action plan (ESAP). During the ESDD, the IIC will visit the project site and evaluate the environmental, social and health and safety system to be adopted, including the associated plans and procedures, will inspect the sites of settlements and industrial areas, verify the scope of the public consultation process, evaluate the basic information and social and labor matters related to the project.
An Environmental and Social Review Summary (ESRS) will be prepared and published on the IIC website once the ESDD process is completed.