Southern Cone infra and water watch
A new bypass for San Fernando town in Chile’s O’Higgins region faces local opposition, as inhabitants claim they were excluded from the planning process and that the infrastructure would negatively impact rural areas.
The 32.2km bypass involves 2.24mn UF (inflation-linked units, US$85mn). As part of the works, two new bridges are also planned.
However, a neighborhood association wants the section crossing San Fernando to be widened instead, but the public works ministry (MOP) claimed this option is more expensive.
Barbara Achondo, a representative of the association, told the senate’s public works committee that the ministry planned widening the existing stretch in 2017, but then changed plans based on a study by a subcontractor hired by concessionaire Rutas del Maipo without consulting locals.
The bypass would be part of the Santiago-Talca highway and Santiago south access concession, and MOP expects to begin environmental evaluation in 2024, while construction would start in 2026 and wrap up in 2028.
Earlier this week, Bolivia’s President Luis Arce met with his Paraguayan counterpart, Mario Abdo, who said Bolivia had to be part of the project.
“There are two corridors. The first is through a highway and the second is through rail,” Montaño said according to a press release, responding to criticisms that Bolivia was being excluded.
Paraguay has advanced work on the bioceanic highway, but rail works have not started in any of the countries involved.
Public infrastructure investments in 2022 will double compared to last year’s 500bn pesos (US$4.2bn), public works minister Gabriel Katopodis said.
“It was a decision from President [Alberto Fernández] that public works weren’t part of the negotiations [with the IMF], that public works weren’t part of the fiscal adjustment,” Katopodis was quoted as saying by state news outlet Télam.
He made the comments during the construction inauguration ceremony for the expansions of potable water treatment plants in the cities of Santa Fe and Granadero Baigorria.
The 5.2bn-peso Santa Fe project involves increasing plant capacity in the provincial capital to 14,500m3/h, while the 2bn-peso Granadero Baigorria expansion comprises increasing capacity to 12,500m3/h, according to national waterworks agency Enohsa.
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