The planned Jala-Puerto Vallarta Highway has been under construction for years as development on the Nayarit side of the project has been stopped on several occasions.
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On October 16, 2012, road construction crews preparing the highway route discovered 12 stone boxes filled with the remains of bodies. The National Institute of Anthropology and History determined the boxes were part of a pre-Hispanic cemetery over 1000 years old.
Among the bones and stone coffins were also ceramic beads, bone awls, and three ceramic figurines representing two older women and one younger.
Much of the site was excavated and artifacts preserved, however the ancient Nahuatl cemetery that was part of a settlement is currently under kilometers 4 and 5 of the new highway, despite the fact that it was the first find of its kind in the country and first settlement in the State of Nayarit.
The project has also seen legal challenges in the State of Nayarit based on the environmental impact and economical impact of some worried the new highway will cut off access to some beaches in the area. Despite the challenges, the government says the project will move forward and be completed in 2017.
The road project that began in April 2012 will be over 180 km of highway running between Jala, Nayarit, and Puerto Vallarta. The new highway is expected to reduce travel time between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta in half, encouraging more people along the route to plan weekends along the coast of Nayarit and Jalisco.