Chile’s Minister of Public Works, Laurence Golborne, and the Argentinian Minister of Planning, Julio de Vido, met on Monday, November 7, to discuss advancing border projects planned by the two countries. They defined three crossing-points of priority: the Túnel de Aguas Negras in the Coquimbo Region, the Corredor Bioceánico Aconcagua (Túnel de Baja Altura) in the Valparaiso Region and Paso de Las Leñas in the O’Higgins Region.
These talks now mean that an additional 14km of tunnel (at 3,500m asl) is planned for the Túnel de Aguas Negras; and the government is also considering the construction of a second tunnel at Las Leñas, between 12km and 13km long at an altitude of 2,000m.
The Bi-Oceanic Corridor Aconcagua – which is being developed for the Ministry of Public Works by a private consortium consisting of Empresas Navieras, Corporación América, Mitsubishi Corp, Contreras Hermanos and Geodata SPA – will effectively join Buenos Aires with Valparaiso / San Antonio / Ventanas via a 52km tunnel under the Andes. The freight rail tunnel, which could carry up 77 million tons of good per year, was declared a Public Interest in August 2008 and is currently in the proposal stage. With Feasibility Studies and the Preliminary Project Engineering having been submitted before Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner this July, plans are that public international invitation for bids will be held once the studies have been assessed and approved by EBIFETRA (the Chilean-Argentine Binational Entity).
The Ministry of Public Works is also working on 14 further border crossings with specific agreements between Argentina and Chile to improve accessibility, customs and customs facilities. Minister Golborne said, “all these steps are the subject of tremendous importance and have been discussed by our Presidents in a recent meeting that they had in New York on September 19. We are moving forward strongly in this joint work plan.”