Copsa eyes US$3bn low altitude Trasandino tunnel, suggests modifications

by Dave

BNAmericas , Chile news

Members of Chilean concessionaires association Copsa have met with Argentine firm CASA and Brazilian group Camargo Corrêa to express their interest in taking part in the project to build a low altitude Trasandino rail tunnel connecting Chile and Argentina, Copsa president Herman Chadwick told BNamericas.

The project, promoted by CASA and Camargo Correa, was declared of public interest by Argentine President Cristina Fernández on September 3, three weeks after the Chilean government announced the same endorsement.

The firms can now begin to carry out technical, financial and environmental feasibility studies to draw up a preliminary design, and authorities could launch a tender as early as late 2008, an official from Chile’s public works ministry told BNamericas.

Copsa is interested in including a highway tunnel in the project, said Chadwick, adding that the additional cost would be minor, considering the project’s US$3bn price tag.

In terms of construction time, Chadwick said great advances have been made over the last few years. While tunnels previously took 7-8 years to build, today works can last 7-8 months.

The project consists of building a rail tunnel near the Los Libertadores international pass that would guarantee year-round multimodal transport across the Andes, benefitting trade between Asia and countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay.