The announcement of the construcTIon of the highway has generated investment in 12 projects in San Juan del Sur and Tola

Dozens of domestic and foreign investors are awaiting the construction schedule for the coastal highway to be built with an extension of 34 kilometers (from Section III – El Naranjo to the municipality of San Juan del Sur) which is currently in its first stage. The construction schedule is vital for programming investments, said the experts that were consulted.

“There are all kinds of projects waiting in line like hotels, shopping centers, and housing developments. One in particular that I like is a regional technical school project to be installed in Tola. It will educate and graduate technicians in food handling, warehouse management, accounting assistants, construction, and electricians. When there is a lot of construction, there is a lack of this type of personnel. If all the projects were built at the same time there would not be enough workforce so it is a priority to train them” says Raúl Calvet, president of Calvet & Asociados, a leading consulting company specializing in hotel, tourism, and real estate project development.

Calvet & Associates estimates at least 10 investment projects destined for Tola that would add to the 24 that already exist and two projects for San Juan del Sur that would add to the 160 already established. “The difference is abysmal and is in itself the town of San Juan del Sur. San Juan del Sur generates tourist attractions that neither Tola nor El Astillero have. With guidance, Tola and El Astillero could be developed into tourist towns taking them to a level such as San Juan del Sur”, considers Calvet.

He also points out that there are new investment projects for Carazo and Managua. “There are less but existing. This will encourage new projects because access to tourism projects attracts investment. ”

The expert said that the connection between San Juan del Sur and Tola is vital because they are the main beach destinations in the country. Joining key points, such as the Costa Esmeralda airport, is of great importance for all projects in the area since they bring all kinds of tourists; mainly surfers, from Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, former Minister of Tourism, said that “the economic and strategic impact of the construction will be formidable. It will unite the most visited beaches of the Pacific of Nicaragua and link their two international airports: Liberia to the South and Managua to the North, as well as two regional airports: Emerald Coast to the South and Montélimar (which could well be rehabilitated) to the North.

Entrepreneur José León Talavera of Villas Playa Maderas in San Juan del Sur believes that the coastal highway is a road of opportunity, not only for Rivas, but for the country as a whole, and that it has already generated interest from investors.

THE CHALLENGES IN THE FIRST STAGE

The first stage of the coastal highway which will be an all- weather road aims to improve access and make a corridor that includes El Naranjo, Ostional, El Coco, San Juan del Sur, and Tola, in addition to the construction of 2 bridges in El Pochote and El Naranjo. This first phase has an initial investment of 150 million cordobas (U$5,067,000 US).

According to Calvet at this early stage, there are several sections that are already advanced, such as the stretch from El Naranjo to San Juan del Sur. “Since about two years ago the problem of the main bridges and culverts in the stretch from El Coyol (Tola) to the bridge of Ochomogo has been resolved and is in perfect condition. The stretch from El Astillero to La Pita is functional. The area that is really lacking is from La Pita by the Chacocente reserve, around and back to Tupilapa, Matapalo and Huehuete. “It is not known if this is the missing part of the design but since it is an all-weather road, it is much simpler”.

For the expert, the challenges of building this type of highway are the river beds during the rainy season along the municipality of San Juan del Sur and Tola. Also, on the one side of the highway, we have all the mountain ranges and when it rains, it may get covered in water. Also, if the corresponding work is not done it can cut off the road. Added to that, is the traffic that would continue and will end destroying the work.

“No doubt there are challenges, but there is lots of enthusiasm. This road gives confidence to investors that the Government is interested in doing things.

Never mind that for now, it is an all-weather road without pavement, the important thing is that there is water, electricity, connectivity and provides ease of mobilization in the area without any problems 365 days of the year between the different tourist destinations. This is exactly what Costa Rica did at the beginning before building asphalted highways”, expresses the president of Calvet & Associates.

Norman Cerna, of the Chamber of Builders of Nicaragua (Cadur), said that the importance of the road goes beyond coastal tourism. It is a good way to publicize the country and strengthen its infrastructure. He warns the mayor of San Juan del Sur to make a territorial study urgently, because the city will grow further and must seek alternate routes.

For Calvet, the coastal highway will be a catalyst to help work the gray areas that remain in that region, such as the Coastal Law, and the use of the first 50 meters of coastline.

According to the Department of Transport and Infrastructure (MTI), the definitive construction of the highway, with an extension of 141 kilometers that would join at least 26 beaches of the Pacific Ocean of Nicaragua, will be finished by the end of 2022, and will have an approximate cost of 130 million dollars.