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Leonidas Narvaéz

COLOMBIA - Transport

Leonidas Narvaéz

General Manager, Empresa Metro de Bogotá


Leonidas Narváez is a civil engineer and road design specialist. In his 39-year professional career, he has held positions and developed transportation infrastructure projects. In his public sector career, he has work at the Ministry of Public Works, the National Institute of Highways (INVÍAS), and the National Infrastructure Agency, among others. Narváez became General Manager of Empresa Metro de Bogotá in January 2021, leading and developing the most important infrastructure project in Colombia: the construction of the first metro line and already planning the second metro line.

Metro de Bogotá is expected to resolve the capital's traffic congestion problems and bring many benefits in terms of access and development.

How has the project for the construction of the Metro of Bogotá evolved and what is the project’s timeline?

The process to develop the first metro line in Bogotá started with awarding the contract to a consortium called Metro Linea1. In October 2019, the contracting process concluded with the signing of a document to start construction works. We are now in a stage in which the consortium will install itself within the city to generate a construction process. This first stage will last until January 2023, and then we will initiate the construction of the project for 57 months until August 2027. In August 2027, the system’s trial stage will begin. and in March 2028, commercial operations will begin.

In 2020, the metro project was given the gold recognition at the international P3 Awards for “Best Transportation Project.” What made the project stand out among the nominees?

The acknowledgement was thanks to Metro de Bogota’s capacity to create a project in a city with particularities and challenges. The project’s financial modeling and the specific strategies used to overcome the technical challenges of the project are noteworthy. The project is being financed, among others, by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. The participation of these multilateral organizations is important, and those in the jury could see that it was a project that was outstanding for its financial resourcefulness and for the sophistication in planning.

Why has the construction of the metro been difficult historically?

One of the reasons is the technical challenges that the project poses. There have also been political and economic aspects that caused a debate on whether it was better to have an underground metro or an above-ground one. All that has delayed the process.

What benefits will the project bring to Bogotá residents?

The Metro de Bogotá is a 24-km metro with 16 stations, of which, 10 stations will be integrated with the city’s metropolitan bus transportation system, known as TransMilenio. The transportation system will be able to handle 1 million passengers per day. The line will run from the southwest of Bogotá through Street 72 and Caracas Avenue, which is the commercial center of the city and the banking area. The metro will bring mobility to many different areas of the city and shorten travel times for Bogotá residents. In addition, the project will bring urban development across the metro line, and the stations will generate an urban renovation. The project will generate more than 1.3 million sqm of renewed spaces for Bogotá residents.

What role does the metro project play in Colombia’s infrastructure development, and what does it represent in terms of economic impact for Bogotá?

The metro is an extremely important project. It will allow Bogotá to be part of a selective group of cities to have carried out large scale rapid transit infrastructure constructions. Moving forward, the construction works within the life of the city will have enormous economic and social ripples. The project is completely financed in terms of CAPEX and OPEX, which includes the expenses to purchase the land. We will spend COP1.5 billion through January 2023 to purchase land and about COP336 billion to roll out the network. These are important investments that will spur the economy.

How is the metro project helping Bogotá recover from the impact of the pandemic?

At this time, we are in a preliminary stage. We began to generate more economic activity toward the middle of 2021. Starting from January 2023, we will start to have an important, positive impact on the economy. By the end of 2021, we expect to hire 3,300 direct jobs and create 13,800 indirect jobs. At its peak, the construction work will generate 9,000 direct jobs. This will be extremely important for the recovery of the economy. As part of that, we expect to launch some initial works in the second half of the year.



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