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First Bay Cleanup Project Abandoned

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 23 March, 2011

(Acapulco, NA 23 March) A year and a half ago, the state water authority, CAPASEG, granted a multi-million peso contract to “2R Constructora” to install a sanitary sewer system along the Costera Alemán in Las Playas, near the Yacht Club. It was the first of several new projects to clean up the waters of Acapulco’s bay.

The construction contractor worked at the project for a few months and then quit. Yesterday, the newspaper Novedades de Acapulco broke the story that the uncompleted project has been covered up and paved over. New curbs, sidewalks and medians have been put in place in spite of the fact that the sanitary drainage pipe, which is supposedly under the right-of-way, is missing altogether in a segment about 200 yards long.

In November of 2009, Mayor Manuel Añorve Baños and CAPAMA director Rigoberto Félix Díaz cut the ribbon on this highly lauded sewer project that would help clean up the bay. The large sanitary drainage system was deemed essential to conveying waste water away from the “Las Playas” peninsula of Acapulco’s “Traditional Zone.” The project was to be completed in little more than a month, by December of 2009. Delays were explained away as “technical difficulties.”

Recently, the entire project has been quietly “paved over.” The authorities were hoping, evidently, that no one would notice. The newspaper account of the interment of the unfinished and useless infrastructure lays the blame on incompetence rather than corruption, though corruption can never be ruled out as part of the problem. No soils study was performed prior to breaking ground, so the project engineers were startled to find that parts of the drainage route in Las Playas passed through solid rock.

After much delay, the decision was taken to close up all excavation for the tourist season of 2009-10. Construction theoretically began again in May of 2010, at the beginning of rainy season. Local neighborhood groups, angry about the inconvenience, dirt and risk to health and safety, mounted loud demonstrations. The Politicians and bureaucrats calmed them down with promises of a rapid completion, but the work never went forward. The project remained idle until the surface was quietly paved and landscaped over.

The several actors in the fiasco – the municipal government, CAPAMA, CAPASEG and 2R Constructora – have tried not to attract public attention. No adverse actions have been taken against the contractor for breach of contract or recovery of public funds. Approximately US$1 million in public investment was buried in the partially dug ditch.