Circulars & Memorandum
Highway 40D begins at a junction with Mexican Federal Highway 15D at Villa Unión, Sinaloa, southeast of Mazatlán. The first toll booth is located at the next interchange, serving the village of Mesillas. The road winds through the area known as the Espinazo del Diablo—the Devil’s Backbone—with many bridges and tunnels on the route.
Highway 40D crosses the Baluarte River and the Sinaloa-Durango state line on the the 403-metre (1,322 ft) Baluarte Bridge, then the world’s tallest cable-stayed bridge, which was formally inaugurated in January 2012. Several exits provide access to nearby villages, but the only town of size, for which Highway 40D serves as a bypass, is El Salto, the seat of Pueblo Nuevo Municipality. Past El Salto, the terrain slowly flattens, and the Durango-Mazatlán stretch ends with one more toll booth west of Durango, for a total of four on the route.
The Baluarte Bridge in March 2012, shortly after inauguration
The construction of a highway from Mazatlán to Durango was deemed by the SCT in 2008 to be the “largest project in Mexican highway history” and by President Felipe Calderón to be the “most complex highway in the world”. The highway crosses some of Mexico’s most hazardous terrain, with 68 tunnels and 115 bridges—including the Baluarte Bridge, then the tallest cable-stayed bridge in the world—which accounts for 70 percent of the road’s distance. Additionally, land had to be acquired from local ejidatarios, who complained that they were being paid too little for their land.
The final 80 kilometres (50 mi) of the 230-kilometre (140 mi) highway was inaugurated by Enrique Peña Nieto on October 17, 2013, bringing to an end twelve years of construction in which the cost of the project grew 195 percent. At that time, Caminos y Puentes Federales (CAPUFE), an agency of the federal government, took over maintenance and operations of the so-called “superhighway”