Colombian Infrastructure

As you previously read in my other post, you’d know that Colombian roads’ quality isn’t that good. Apart from poor quality, you also have a very low quantity. Colombia’s network of roads is not something that people boast about actually. It can be hard to imagine how big Colombia is, so there we go – Colombia is as big as Portugal, Spain and France altogether, the 26th biggest country in the world (wow! before research this piece of fact I hadn’t realised that Iran was thre 18th biggest!)!

So although it is such a vast country, 6 years ago there were only 60 km of two-lane expressways across the whole countries. Now, there are 1,000 km of two-lane expressways (the whole country is 1M square km), that means 140,000 km of roads are either unpaved or have only one lane, so it’s dangerous when you drive across the country if you have to anticipate the oncoming cars and find a slot to park aside to give way.. You can see how the problem is, when Bogotá has direct road connection to Medellín (second biggest city in Colombia) only 30 years ago! And it was only 20 years ago when Bogotá had direct access to the coast!

The Transmilenio is a good example of the contribution that Bogotá has made to ‘progress’ in Colombia. After like 30 years of discussion to build a train network in the capital, the city decided to build roads just for the bus network so it can pretend to be the train?!!??? A bus in disguise.. Perhaps for cost-saving purpose..

The strange thing about the poor network and mobility in Colombia is that road development progress is not comparable to other aspects of infrastructure – you have 93.6% of the population has access to electricity. The standard of roads certainly isn’t proportionate to the country’s economic development or other development indicators. Apparently the reason is that the government, in the 90’s, decided to privatise parts of infrastructure such as energy and telecommunications, and those have prospered. However, the politicians soon realized their ‘mistakes’. By privatising some infrastructure elements, they have also lost the equivalent bite of their power. So they’ve kept roads close to their hearts. So yes, power struggle, greed and bureaucracy are direct contributors to the poor road conditions in Colombia..


  1. Anonymous · · Reply

    However, investment in infrastructure may become the biggest business opportunity in the next 20 years!!!

  2. if only i had the capital.. other chinese readers you're welcome to 'chip in'..

  3. […] the vehicle or human being next to me..), they have to tackle the dangerous busetas or Transmilenio and hope that they will not get robbed. Or they will have to be waiting for 30 minutes for a […]

  4. […] income inequalities and shopping malls filled with American and European luxury brands. Third world infrastructure brings you to with sexy night clubs..   In a developing country like Colombia, life in general […]

  5. more roads=more disaster for environment unfortunately…so i prefer to have a pick up & (pick up the mamacitas w/ no car) for those bumpy rides…

    1. what is a mamacita?

  6. […] it is more than necessary to do so. So in order to avoid succumbing to the overly limiting mobility while living in the demanding city, you can learn the tricks to make safer taxi journeys (though […]

  7. […] But apparently the situation has already been improved. The city now has 7,000 less busetas than before, thanks to Transmilenio. […]

  8. Colombian since his independece have been in internal war. infrastrucure of roads counldt be developt in proper way, just 20 years ago you could travel in road along the country because marxist comunist guerrillas, finance by Russia, China trained by Cuba. it was really dangerous.

  9. […] the exact change or coins out of your wallet before boarding the buseta or Transmilenio – never take your wallet out on the streets, never put all your cash in one […]

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