Juarez-Chihuahua Highway: The Route of Deterioration

The highway that connects Ciudad Juárez with Chihuahua is one of the main road arteries in northern Mexico, with a length of 351.5 kilometers and an estimated travel time of approximately three hours and 23 minutes. Despite its importance for tourism, transportation of goods and commerce in the region, this road faces a serious problem: its progressive deterioration.
In the last year, a significant increase in the number and size of potholes has been reported, especially in the busiest sections.
A diagnosis by the State Secretariat of Communication and Public Works (SCOP) in 2023 revealed that 88 of the 100 kilometers of federal highway 45, between Ciudad Juárez and Ahumada, are in poor condition, with deformations and serious potholes, while the remaining 12 kilometers are in regular condition. In the opposite direction, from Ahumada to Juárez, only 21 of 102 kilometers are in optimal condition, with the rest in regular or poor condition. These data are part of a report sent by the state government to the federal government, requesting urgent intervention to repair these roads, whose deterioration affects safety and travel times.
The report also highlights that this problem extends to other sections in Chihuahua, such as the Savalza-Jiménez section of Highway 49, with 89.7 percent in poor condition, and the Altavista-Saucillo section of Highway 45, with 71 percent in unfavorable conditions. Among the few exceptions, the Delicias-Chihuahua segment is 39.5 percent in good condition. SCOP emphasizes that the lack of adequate maintenance aggravated by a 70 percent reduction in the federal budget for highways in the last seven years is causing significant structural damage to the state road network.

Accidents in recent months
These defects not only make driving difficult, but also generate additional costs for drivers due to damage to their vehicles; In addition, the deterioration of the road has contributed to several accidents in recent months, some with serious consequences.
On April 4, near kilometer 120, an accident occurred where a family with two minors overturned their vehicle, resulting in five people injured, with one of the adults trapped in the car.
Later, on May 2, at least six cars were stranded between kilometers 50 and 60 due to potholes. Drivers reported blown tires and damaged rims, forcing them to stop for repairs.
A tragic incident occurred on June 20, when a rollover near Ahumada resulted in the death of two people. Daniel Ávila Espinoza, 32, died shortly after being admitted to IMSS 66, and Javier Cervantes, a member of comedian Brincos Dieras’ security team, also lost his life while they were heading to Juárez for a performance at the Juárez 2024 Fair.
On the 24th of the same month, a trailer loaded with rods overturned near kilometer 61, scattering its load on the road. Although there were no injuries, the passengers collaborated in the cleanup to resume traffic.
Last Thursday, two men were injured after their Dodge RAM 1500 pickup truck overturned on the Pan-American Highway, near the old Cefereso 9. According to the National Guard report, the driver lost control when trying to avoid a pothole, which caused the overturn and the scattering of windows and construction materials that he was carrying in the vehicle’s bed.

Investment Plans 2024

The responsibility for the maintenance of the Ciudad Juárez-Chihuahua highway falls mainly on the Secretariat of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation (SICT), which manages most of the federal sections.
However, the Government of the State of Chihuahua, in the absence of support from the Federation, in July of last year planned to launch a tender of 10 million pesos to repair deteriorated federal highway sections. Governor Maru Campos announced that the Chihuahua-Parral short-haul highway and the Sacramento-Sueco and Ahumada-Juárez sections of the Chihuahua-Ciudad Juárez highway would be addressed.

“The 10 million tender is only for the federal sections of Chihuahua-Juárez, Sueco-Janos and the Short-Haul to Parral. We are not covering all the potholes, only the largest ones that are causing the most problems,” said Carlos González, spokesman for the State Secretariat of Communications and Public Works (SCOP).

The State has implemented an emergency patching program for federal sections, seeking to mitigate deterioration problems while awaiting a long-term solution. “This initiative reflects the State Government’s commitment to improving road infrastructure, which is crucial for economic development and the safety of users of the Chihuahua–Ciudad Juárez highway,” said González.
SCOP data indicate that the Chihuahua–Ciudad Juárez highway presents a diverse situation in terms of its maintenance and responsibility. The sections managed by the Government of Chihuahua have been the subject of constant work, which is reflected in their good condition. In particular, the Chihuahua–Sacramento segments (from kilometer 18 to 31) and Sueco–Ahumada (from kilometer 152 to 239), in both directions, are in excellent condition thanks to these efforts.

In contrast, the sections under federal jurisdiction face greater challenges. The Sacramento-Sueco (kilometer 31 to 152) and Ahumada-Juárez (kilometer 239 to 350) segments show signs of deterioration and require urgent intervention.
For 2024, the Government of the State of Chihuahua has allocated an investment of 3.7 billion pesos for the reconstruction, rehabilitation and routine maintenance of state highways.
“This investment is part of a broader effort to efficiently manage the 4,500 kilometers of state highways out of a total of 9,000 kilometers in the state. Of the rest, 3,600 kilometers are the responsibility of the federal government, and the maintenance of the remaining section falls to the municipalities,” said the spokesperson for the Secretariat.

Source: diario