Argentina – Chile Link: the International Cristo Redentor Tunnel Tender – One of the greatest engineering works of the 21st Century
In the middle of winter 2019, Mendoza is enthusiastic, with its eyes set on the imposing mountain and the growing commercial and tourist exchange with Chile.
This project called “Túnel del Cristo Redentor”is one of the most ambitious of the 21st century, with the call for tenders for an initial investment of more than 90 million US dollars.
The Government, through National Road, published on Friday in the Official Gazette the beginning of the process to finalize the expected and huge work in the middle of the Andes: the extension of the old Caracoles railway tunnel and its interconnection with the current conduit that crosses to Chile.
The opening of bids will be held on Friday, September 13, 2019, starting at 10 am, in the Agreement Room of the Government House of Mendoza, located on Peltier Avenue 351, in the provincial capital.
“This is the most important step we have for the transport of cargo to and from Chile and once concluded it will have an enormous impact, not only for Mendoza Province but also for the transport of cargo that comes and goes throughout the Argentine territory, and for increased Tourism and Trade with Chile and so is part of this vision that President Macri has to solve the larger problems of logistics that is being currently generated causing the ceiling for growth.
The works will be financed in part by the Ministry of Transportation, through National Road, and partly by a loan granted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The aim of the project is to increase the capacity of the tunnel to make it suitable for all types of modern vehicles. “We hope there are many tenders to do the work.
This is the first phase of works, which includes the extension of the existing Caracoles tunnel, an old railway crossing, and one of the two underground roads that make up the most important international crossing point between Argentina and Chile, which is currently disabled for the passage of vehicles.
The dimensions of the Caracoles tunnel will go from the current 4.9 meters wide and 5.46 meters high to 10.6 meters wide and 8.3 meters high, doubling its capacity. The tunnel, which today has a single lane for the passage of vehicles, will have two lanes equipped with their respective sidewalks and shoulders. The project also includes the construction of five interconnection galleries between the Caracoles tunnel and the Cristo Redentor tunnel, which on the Argentine side are separated by an approximate distance of 325 meters.
Three of the five galleries will be used for pedestrians, while the other two will be enabled for the passage of vehicles and pedestrians in case of emergencies. According to the studies carried out by Transporte, the expansion and modernization of the international pass will benefit more than 2,600 users that circulate daily between both nations. “This initiative is developed within the framework of the re-launched co-operation policies between both countries that during the last three years made possible the celebration of important trade, energy, and infrastructure integration agreements”, said the Vialidad Nacional.
“The expansion of the Cristo Redentor International Pass is one of the most important infrastructure projects of the last 30 years, and this project that we are bidding today would not have been possible if the Argentine’s had not decided to finish with the twelve years of isolation and confrontation with the rest of the world, “said Patricia Gutiérrez, general administrator of National Road Administration.
The Cristo Redentor International Pass, which is accessed by RN 7-, is the connection with the highest level of traffic between Argentina and Chile and is part of one of the most important bi oceanic corridors in the region, which links the port of Buenos Aires ( Atlantic) with the port of Valparaiso (Pacific). Its construction dates from 1980 and is located at 3,186 meters above sea level in the Andes.
The extension of Christ the Redeemer will be carried out in two stages – in which works will be carried out on both sides of the mountain range – and will be tendered independently by Argentina and Chile. The first stage of expansion of the Chilean side is in the final preparation phase and it is estimated that it will be tendered before the end of the year.
The expansion and modernization of the international pass is part of the mega-project “Cristo Redentor System”. The initiative will require an investment of USD 750 million, financed by the IDB, and will provide logistics solutions for commercial and tourist transport between the Mercosur countries and the Pacific Alliance.
As part of this mega initiative, the construction of the Palmira-Agrelo variant advances a 38-km highway that will function as an alternative to National Route 7 and will prevent heavy traffic from entering the City of Mendoza.
In addition, since the end of March, the integral rehabilitation of National Route 7 between Uspallata and Potrerillos, in the middle of the Mendoza mountain, has been underway.
Source: Translated from the La Nacion