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On Wednesday the 8th of August 2012 the new La Romana – Punta Cana highway, officially called the “Autopista del Coral”, was inaugurated in a somewhat rainy ribbon-cutting ceremony led by President of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Leonel Fernández, and was on Thursday the 9th of August officially opened for traffic travelling between La Romana and Punta Cana!
Inauguration of the “Autopista del Coral” La Romana – Punta Cana
This fantastic new road which will facilitate swift and safe travel (in under 1 hour!) between La Romana and Punta Cana, 2 of the Dominican Republic’s most popular tourist destinations, cost some US$ 400 million to build and was officially inaugurated by President of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Leonel Fernández, amongst numerous government officials atop the impressive new bridge over the Chavón river (pictured above).
The “Autopista del Coral” and the La Estancia golf resort
So now that the the “Autopista del Coral” between La Romana and Punta Cana has officially been inaugurated as is now OPEN, here we bring you all the facts:
• The road is open!
• Join the “Autopista del Coral” La Romana – Punta Cana highway just outside of Casa de Campo and arrive in Punta Cana in 40minutes to 1 hour! Yes it’s official Punta Cana is now a feasible day-trip destination!
• The tolls for the “Autopista del Coral” La Romana – Punta Cana highway have NOT yet been opened – meaning that there is currently NO charge for using the road.
• Exits on and off of the new highway are located at La Romana, the La Romana – Casa de Campo airport, the La Estancia Golf Resort, the entrance to Bayahibe – Dominicus, near to Higuey and at the Punta Cana International Airport – see image below for details.
• When the “La Romana by-pass” (hopefully in October this year – see below for details) is completed, travel time between Santo Domingo and Punta Cana is expected to fall to just 2 hours!
• When the tolls open, there will be 2 tolls along the road; the first at KM 18, just after Bayahibe and the second at KM 58, close to the Punta Cana International airport. We have not yet heard anything official about how much the toll charges will be, but I was told from a taxi driver that the toll is expected to be around RD$450 (about US$12).
• The “Autopista del Coral” highway will have 4 lanes of traffic and is designed for cars travelling at a maximum speed of 110km/h
• The “Autopista del Coral” highway is 70km long, which if driven at 110km/h has a travel time of just 24 minutes.
• The “Autopista del Coral” highway has 3 bridges, which cross over the Chavón, Santa Clara and Duey rivers.
• The “Autopista del Coral” highway is fully signposted and lit and even has pedestrian paths in urban areas.
Where can you go? Getting on (and off) the new highway
The above image shows:
• Where you can get on and off the new highway (labelled “distribuidor”) – at La Romana, the La Romana – Casa de Campo airport, the La Estancia Golf Resort, the entrance to Bayahibe – Dominicus, near to Higuey and at the Punta Cana International Airport
• The location of the toll booths (labelled “peaje”)
• The La Romana by-pass (labelled “circunvalación”) which will hopefully be opened in October 2012
The bridge over the Chavón river
As one of the most imposing and iconic components of the new “Autopista del Coral” La Romana – Punta Cana highway, here are a few interesting facts about the bridge over the Chavón river:
• The bridge is 302m long, constructed from steel and cement slabs
• The bridge has 4 lanes of traffic (2 in each direction), as well as a pedestrian footpaths on each side and a central reservation
• The bridge was designed and constructed in accordance with the new “anti-seismic” code in the Dominican Republic – calculated to withstand the effects of earthquakes.
What about the highway from Santo Domingo?
As far as we understand the “Autopista del Coral” highway is part of a larger project called the “Corredor Vial del Este”, which will eventually connect the capital city of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo with the Punta Cana International Airport, a 181km route, which will consist of 3 separate highways:
1. “Autovia del Este”
This 97km route between Santo Domingo and La Romana is not currently being worked on, but major improvements have already been made over the past few years, including the opening of the new bridge over the Soco River.
2. “Circunvalación La Romana” – the La Romana bypass
This 14km route will take traffic around La Romana, rather than directly through the city – making travel from Santo Domingo to Casa de Campo, Bayahibe, Higuey and Punta Cana much faster, whilst also making the center of La Romana much less congested. The opening date for this has not yet been announced, but we have heard that it is expected to be ready in October of this year (2012).
3. “Autopista del Coral”
The 70km route between La Romana and Punta Cana – opening this Wednesday August 8th.
Details of the “Corredor Vial del Este”, can be seen on the image below:
Casa de Campo offers guests free transfers!
To celebrate the opening of the new highway, Casa de Campo guests arriving between August 15-December 20, 2012 by way of any of the three major surrounding international airports: Punta Cana (code: PUJ); Las Americas or Santo Domingo, (code: SDQ) and the Casa de Campo/La Romana International Airport (code: LRM) will receive complimentary round-trip transfers for up to 2 persons per room, on 4-night minimum stays for bookings made prior to August 31, 2012.
• The aerial images used in this article were taken on a Heli-Tours flight between Casa de Campo and Tracadero in Bayahibe.