Colombia's National Infrastructure Agency, or ANI, said it will launch a road-concession process next week aimed at awarding an estimated 4 trillion pesos ($2.25 billion) worth of contracts for the construction of 550 kilometers (340 miles) of roads.

ANI director Luis Fernando Andrade said in a press conference Friday that the process is part of the larger "4th Generation (4G) of Road Concessions in Colombia" project, which is the largest in the nation's history and aimed at auctioning off 30 road concessions worth an estimated 40 trillion pesos ($22.5 billion).

On Monday, the government will launch the concession process for the first four road projects, which will involve investment of approximately 1 trillion pesos ($563 million) each.

They are to be built in strategic areas with a view to linking the country's main commercial and industrial centers.

The first will link the coastal cities of Barranquilla and Cartagena with a 152-kilometer (95-mile) highway and also include a bypass road.

The second will be a 205-kilometer (127-mile) road linking the central municipalities of Girardot and Puerto Salgar and will serve as an extension of the so-called Sun Road that connects the center of the country with Ecuador.

The third will be a 90-kilometer (55-mile) road between Mulalo and Loboguerrero in southwestern Colombia, while the last project will link the central towns of Caqueza, La Calera and Sopo.

Andrade said the "pre-qualification" stage will run for two months beginning on Feb. 6.

The qualified companies then will be able to submit their bids over the following six months.

With this project, the government is aiming to increase the total distance of dual-carriageway roads from 844.67 kilometers (525 miles) in 2012 to 1,347.37 kilometers (837 miles) in 2014. EFE