Cemento de El Salvador (CESSA), El Salvador: Paving new Roads in El Salvador.

Cemento de El Salvador (CESSA), El Salvador: Paving new Roads in El Salvador

Almost half of El Salvador's roads is still unpaved, leading to dust generation and hindering transport of people and goods. First of all, this harms El Salvador's economy, but it also influences quality of life in general. A Public Private Partnership of El Salvadorian Municipalities and Cemento de El Salvador (CESSA), a member of the Holcim Group and a local producer of construction materials, has brought ease to the situation by paving new concrete roads.

El Salvador, a country of about 7 million citizens, is the smallest but most densely populated country of Central America, situated on the Pacific Ocean and adjoining Guatemala and Honduras. El Salvador's economy is the third largest in the region, behind Costa Rica's and Panama's.

Many municipalities of El Salvador lack road infrastructure and the financial resources and knowhow to improve conditions, making it difficult for private persons to move from A to B, but especially harming business and its development. As about half of El Salvador's streets are still unpaved and/or damaged, access to urban and in particular rural areas is often difficult, making transport of people and goods very time-consuming. Poor roads also lead to dust generation.

Improving El Salvador's road network

In order to change the situation for the better, Cemento de El Salvador (CESSA) started in June 2005 to implement a Public Private Partnership in co-operation with 4 municipalities. Already by December 2008, 37 municipalities were participating in the program and the number is still growing.

The name of the project, "Pavimentemos nuestra Cuadra", gives the aim of the project: Paving new concrete roads in the neighborhood. The municipalities construct the roads themselves while CESSA supports. The construction company provides basic paving equipment on loan, gives technical advice and organizes technical trainings in the fields of road construction materials and of basic paving equipment. Participants in the trainings are municipal technicians, masons, constructors and design engineers. More than 1000 have taken the opportunity so far.

Tangible merits that emanate further

Since the start of the project, the tangible merits of the program are manifold:

  • More than 53 kilometers of municipal roads were constructed, constituting nearly 300 projects, benefiting 15,000 families directly.
  • The projects lead to the building of 8,200 jobs, generating a positive impact on the local economy by stimulating consumption.
  • Training for more than 1,000 persons lead greatly to technology transfer which brings further development of the municipalities.
  • Better streets allow for smother traffic flow and, especially, a public transport system that is more punctual and faster.
  • The concentration of dust in the air is significantly smaller.

Overall, the program is a great success, a solid contribution to a higher quality of life for the people of the participating municipalities of El Salvador. While in the past, the damaged roads used to make a bad impression on observers that walked or drove through the streets of many municipalities, the newly built, faultless roads show now a completely different picture. They literally pave the way for social and economic development of El Salvador.