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Bolivia's government has signed a contract with local consortium Apolo-IASA to build the Ventilla-Tarapaya highway, a spokesperson for the National Highway Commission (SNC) told BNamericas.com.
The signing was scheduled for early August but was delayed due to restructuring of the SNC, which has still not been completed, and because some of the other bidders questioned the choice of winner.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is financing the project, evaluated bids of the five pre-qualifiers and selected Apolo-IASA's as the closest to its reference, finding no irregularities.
Apolo-IASA offered US$26mn to complete the work, outbidding Queiroz Galvao (Brazil); Cartellone-Crucena-Minerva (Argentina, Bolivia); ICA-Barthos & Cia (Bolivia); and Astaldi SPA-Petricevic (Italy, Bolivia).
United States-based Wilbur Smith Associates and Bolivia's Consa SRL were selected to supervise works. They will take 8-10% of the some US$30mn set aside for the highway project. The supervisors were the IDB's second choice, the spokesperson said, after the first choice was unable to lower its bid to the IDB's reference price.
The 84km Ventilla-Tarapaya route forms part of the 1,215km highway running from Desaguadero, west of La Paz on the Peruvian border, through Oruro and Potosi to Bermejo in the southern department of Tarija, which borders Argentina. The route is an international north-south export corridor, and construction of the stretch is due to take two years.
The project will be financed by a US$71.8mn IDB loan, US$30mn of which is slated for construction and supervision of works, with the remainder set aside for additional expenses including re-location of residents living in the area and maintenance costs.
In related news, the SNC overhaul is still holding up the unlocking of US$87mn of World Bank funding for a series of highway projects including the contract to build the Abapo-Camiri highway, which was awarded early this year to the Spanish-Bolivian consortium Agroman Ferrovial-Apolo.
The Abapo-Camiri contract would involve paving 150km of road, the only non-surfaced section of the Santa Cruz-Yucuiba highway.