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UPDATE 1-Colombia awards $4 billion contract for Bogota metro to China-Canada consortium

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BOGOTA, Oct 17 (Reuters) - A $4 billion contract to build a metro in the Colombian capital was awarded to a consortium of China’s Harbour Engineering Company, Xi’an Metro Company and Canada’s Bombardier Inc, the government said on Thursday.

The 24-km (15-mile) metro, promised by city officials for decades, is considered key to taming traffic on Bogota’s congested and chaotic roadways. It is meant to complement the city’s Transmilenio system of buses.

Metro Director Andres Escobar said the consortium, known as Apca Transmimetro, will construct the project and operate it for 20 years.

The group beat out the other international consortium that submitted bids, which consisted of Mexico’s Carso Infraestructura y Construccion and Promotora de Desarrollo de America Latina, Spain’s FCC Concesiones de Infraestructura and Ferrocarril Metropolita de Barcelona and France’s Alstom SA.

Colombia’s capital, with some 7 million residents, will provide some 30% of the subway funding. The remainder will come from the national government.

The consortium will have seven years to build the project. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)