Just five years ago, the flamingos of Celestún seemed so far away from the capital. The only quick drive to the beach was north, at the end of the Mérida-Progreso highway.
To drive west to the nature preserves and wide-open beaches of Celestún meant a long, slow haul through a half-dozen towns, navigating past pedestrians and through residential neighborhoods.
Now, new road projects will bring the beaches west of Mérida as close as the more densely developed beach communities that lie to the north, about 45 minutes away.
Construction starts in September and will be finished by March or April, according to the state-run Institute of Road Infrastructure Yucatán (Incay).
For now, drivers take relatively new highways from the outskirts of Mérida until they hit local roads in Tetiz and Kinchil.
The general director of the institute, Javier Solis Osante Renan, called the $91 million-peso project the most important line item in the 2016 budget.
It will take just over 12 kilometers of highway to cut around the charming, but slow-going towns. Drivers will save about 20-25 minutes on average. The roads will be 12 meters wide.
Celestún last inched closer to the capital city in 2012, when a Mérida-Tetiz highway was put into service. This route, stretching 24 kilometers, bypassed other towns that used to slow your trip to the beach: Caucel, Ucú and Hunucmá.
Source: Diario de Yucatán