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Vespucio Oriente hwy design to be defined in 2007

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, August 31, 2006
Chile's public works ministry ( MOP) will decide in 2007 on the final design of capital Santiago's Vespucio Oriente expressway, local paper Diario Financiero reported. The Echenique engineering committee in charge of studying the Vespucio Oriente highway will submit a report in December this year to MOP on alternative designs for the 10km expressway. The report will only include technical feasibility studies on the road between Grecia avenue and the Centenario bridge. The committee will then submit a second report in February 2007, analyzing the economic feasibility of the various options. MOP will analyze the cost differences between an underground expressway and a surface alternative. The final report will be delivered to the government in March, and will contain all the necessary information to enable authorities to launch the tender process for the expressway's construction. According to past press reports, the underground initiative would require at least US$500mn, although it could reach up to US$1bn, making the project economically unfeasible. A combined surface-underground model would cost some US$400mn. One of the difficulties that the fully underground design faces is that the route of the six-lane expressway would intersect Santiago's metro system, and the tunnel would therefore have to run deep underground to avoid crossing the subway line. Authorities from the districts of Peñalolén, La Reina, Las Condes and Vitacura - through which the route would run - have expressed their support for the underground alternative as it would have less impact on traffic flow, green areas and the housing market. The Vespucio Oriente expressway would wrap up the project to upgrade Santiago's Vespucio beltway, the rest of which has been developed under concession schemes.

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