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Preliminary design studies are moving forward for the future Las Leñas corridor between San Rafael in Argentina and Rancagua, capital of the O'Higgins region (VI) of Chile through the Andes mountain range.
With this new international corridor, the two countries hope to boost opportunities for integration and growth. The completion of preliminary studies is a key step towards tendering of the project, the government of Argentina's Mendoza province said in a release.
The pre-construction phase includes four stages, two of which have already been defined following a series of technical studies.
The first, the prefeasibility study for the works, has already been approved. The second, the preliminary project for the works to be carried out has also recently been defined.
Design and evaluation of the executive project is the third stage, which is currently underway, while the fourth stage involves the call to tender for the works.
The project includes 13km of new road infrastructure on the Chilean side of the border and 60km on the Argentine side, along with a 13km tunnel through the mountain range at over 2,000m above sea level.
The future connection is seen as being fundamentally important to support productive economic ties between Buenos Aires port in Argentina and San Antonio port in Chile, which is considered by Chilean authorities to be strategic for decongesting Valparaiso port.
Studies have also indicated that the Las Leñas corridor will improve cargo transport between both nations, which is currently at around 30Mt per year, and will also allow constant circulation of traffic throughout the entire year.
Both of the remaining stages before the works can be tendered, as well as the mechanisms to obtain the necessary funding, are under the supervision of the Ente Binacional Las Leñas, an entity officially created last April by Chilean and Argentine authorities.