Better Roads

April 2014

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Better Roads April 2014 19 Huertas says. "This combination requires that the work is thoroughly planned, not only in order to use the aggregates, but also for the stability of the slopes." The new highway, slated to be complete in 2015, will be a much-needed channel that links Colombia to Venezuela. The project's diffi culty lies not only in fi nding usable material in a close proximity to build the road, but also in overcom- ing the country's demanding topography. The current road between Bucaramanga and Cúcuta is narrow and steep, with altitudes ranging from 2,952 feet above sea level up to 11,811 feet. The new highway's design levels out the road to a maximum 7.5-percent incline – down from a high of 18 percent. Once complete, vehicles will be able to go as fast as 50 miles per hour, reducing travel time from Bucaramanga to Cúcuta from six hours to 2-1/2 hours. All of this had to be accomplished without interrupting the fl ow of traffi c of vehicles traveling from Bucaramanga to Cúcuta, and at the same time, maintaining the integrity of the natural landscape. "Our work has been exemplary both from an environmen- tal point of view and regarding the handling of the resources of a public works project," Huertas says. "The entire respon- sibility falls to us to take care of the fauna and fl ora of these mountains, and we must recover many areas with native spe- cies. Therefore, it is a much more comprehensive construction than older projects or other projects in Colombia." The end result is a country that will have an updated infrastructure capable of meeting Colombia's growing needs for travel and trade, says Dave McCracken, international sales director for Latin America and the Caribbean for KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens. "The construction of modern, multi-lane highways in Colombia's mountainous and rugged terrain is making travel safer and faster for its citizens," McCracken says. "On the commercial side, industrial goods for export will be done more effi ciently and at a reduced cost as they move to Colombian ports." Forging forward with relationships The complexity of the project required MHC to invest in high-quality mobile equipment that could classify aggregate without the use of water – which is limited in the region – as well as provide a high production rate, according to Huertas. But most importantly, he was seeking a relationship with a manufacturer and local dealer that would listen to his specifi c needs and provide a solution. "Throughout this process, we expected to be guided and advised by the dealer and the manufacturer in terms of making improvements or adapting the machinery to our environment, which is different in each country, given the operation, geography and site location," Huer- tas says. "KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens, as well as Astec Inc., provided me with research and the opportunity to observe the equipment working in other countries, so as to unify criteria and optimize resources. "What led us to purchase the equip- ment is the personalized relationship between the dealer, the factory and all of the engineers that act on a product," he continues. "The quality of equipment is also crucial. According to our experience, it is not a good practice to try to sell a product only for the sake of the sale. It is important for the product not only to be able to produce aggregates, but also to allow the owner to have additional capacity in the future. It is critical that there is a long-term connection between the manufacturer, dealer and the producer." Through authorized dealer Rodríguez y Loñdono and Mario Huertas Corporation is using a Double Barrel warm-mix asphalt system for the new highway, slated to be complete in 2015, that will link Colombia to Venezuela. HighwayContractor

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