News Article

Belden’s Legacy In Mexico’s Highway System

By Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 07/10/2020 - 11:03

The development of highway infrastructure in Mexico has changed significantly in the last two decades. What was once a centralized development cycle that involved the participation of a few companies backed up by the Mexican government has turned into a much more complex endeavor that includes the participation of companies from all over the world. 

It has also changed on a technological scale. What used to be boilerplate industrial constructions have turned into advanced connectivity enterprises that require specialized equipment. Belden’s products and services have taken an active role in the development of these infrastructure projects. Through its Hirschmann product lines, which specialize in industrial networking connected through Ethernet and fiber optics, Belden has played a key role in optimizing Mexico’s highway infrastructure development by helping align the projects with contemporary IT and IoT standards. The company’s role has expanded over the years, and Belden now manages a broad installation base with many of Mexico’s government agencies. These include SCT and CAPUFE, which regulate and operate federal highways along with their ITS systems.

One project that is emblematic of Belden’s legacy in Mexico’s infrastructure development is the Durango-Mazatlan highway. Ten years ago, the new highway was the largest public roadworks project in the country. It represented the last segment of the Matamoros-Mazatlan corridor that connects an important Gulf of Mexico port and the Mexico-US border crossing with a significant economic hub and port access to the Pacific Ocean. It is composed of 230km of two to four traffic lanes and crosses two states, with 63 tunnels, the longest of which measures over 2.6km. One of the most ambitious aspects of this project was the construction of the Baluarte bridge between the border states of Durango and Sinaloa. This work of architecture was recognized by Guinness World Records as the highest cable-stayed bridge in the world, suspended over a 394m drop covering 1.124km. 

The project’s complexity led SCT to divide it into three segments. Four major infrastructure contractors were chosen through public bidding rounds: Omega Corporation, Tradeco Industrial, FCC Construcción and La Peninsular. These contractors and their approved bids totaled over US$357 billion in investments. The contractors used both Belden and Hirschmann brands throughout the project’s development cycle from 2008 to 2012. 

Thanks to Belden, the Durango-Mazatlan highway project became a benchmark for advanced infrastructure development in Mexico and for SCT and CAPUFE in terms of integrated logistical expansion. The use and eventual permanent installation of Hirschmann products throughout the whole corridor enabled high degrees of connectivity and coordination among contractors throughout the project’s development cycle. It also allowed the highway to become an essential component of the country’s IT and ITS standards.

Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Journalist and Industry Analyst