An arbitration hearing scheduled for later this month aims to determine whether Colombia’s National Roads Institute (Invias) owes Spanish contractor Sacyr additional funds following the redesign and construction of the bridge over the River Magdalena in the city of Barranquilla.

The 3,237m-long Pumarejo Bridge includes an 800m-long cable-stayed section, 1,300m of viaducts as well as access roads.

The bridge was built by SES Puente Magdalena, a consortium consisting of two Sacyr companies with a 70% stake and Esgamo Ingeniería Constructores. The crossing, which opened on 20 December 2019, had an original completion date of May 2018 that was later extended to December 2018.

The contractor is expected to argue that changes in Colombia’s technical norms for design and construction of bridges required the modification of the terms of an initial design contract that had been formalised in 2011. Following the award of the contract in 2015, the structure had to be redesigned in order to meet the new norms, with the result adding an estimated US$57 million to the total cost.

The arbitration process could last a maximum of two years, according to local reports.