Mota-Engil and China Railways win $760m Medellín light rail system

Medellín is the home of Colombia’s only metro system (Guía de Viajes Oficial de Medellín/CC BY 2.0)
A team made up of China Railway Construction Company (CRCC) and Portuguese contractor Mota-Engil is set to win a $760m contract to build a light rail line system in the Colombian city of Medellín, for which it was the sole bidder, the Construcción Latino America website reports

The consortium is called “the 80th Metro Temporary Union”, a reference to the name of the proposed system, Metro de la 80. It will build a 13km network with 17 stations, running from Caribe in the north of the city to Aguacatala in the south.

The new system will supplement Medellín’s existing metro, which is the only one in Colombia, at least until the completion of the Bogatá metro.

The awarding ceremony will take place on 21 October, and work is expected to complete in 2027.

Business website BNAmericas notes that the deal has proved controversial in Colombia, partly because there was only one bidder, and partly because Mota-Engil was involved in a school infrastructure contract that was voided in 2019, resulting in a continuing legal dispute.

The Metro de Medellín originally said some 48 companies had expressed interest in the contract, however only one bid was received by the August deadline. Colombian legislators have expressed concern over the bidding process, and have asked the country’s comptroller general to audit it. 

Medellín is Colombia’s second city, with a population of around 2.5 million people.

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