SANTIAGO – Chile and Argentina on Monday unveiled the Agua Negra project, which calls for building a 13.9-kilometer (8.7-mile) border tunnel linking the two South American countries.
The $1.41 billion Agua Negra border tunnel will connect the Chilean region of Coquimbo with Argentina’s San Juan province.
Several Cabinet ministers from both countries took part Monday in the presentation of the project and the timeline for the next few months.
The first step in launching the project, which is being financed by the Inter-American Development Bank, or IDB, is to compile a list of qualified bidders, officials said.
The Agua Negra project calls for building two main tunnels – each with two lanes – at a point under the Andes some 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Santiago.
Qualified companies and consortiums will be required to submit bids in 2017, with a contract running eight to 10 years being awarded the following year.
The Agua Negra pass is blocked by snow every winter, making the tunnel an effective way to keep the flow of trucks, buses and other vehicles going year-round.