Entre Ríos plots US$131mn infrastructure overhaul

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, August 31, 2006
Northeastern Argentina's Entre Ríos provincial government has drawn up a US$131mn investment plan for the next five to six years to improve infrastructure to support economic development, according to information supplied to BNamericas by the province's director general of planning, Tomás Arias. The province is seeking Inter-American Development Bank ( IDB) financing for the project, which will be supplemented with significant spending from Entre Ríos' own funds and the federal government. Transport connections between Entre Ríos and the interior of the country have been rather tenuous in the past due to its position between the rivers Paraná and Uruguay. Political, social and economic instability during the 1980s and 1990, and the early part of this decade, also hindered the consolidation and improvement of infrastructure, affecting transportation in particular. Road, rail and port infrastructure in the province has lost its multimodal characteristics and a lack of maintenance has left ports and rail lines in a relatively poor state, according to the plan. There have also been few investments in new roads. As a result, the provincial government has sought to create the "program for the strengthening of Entre Ríos infrastructure to support economic production." This is aimed at setting out a calendar of investments for the medium and long term. These investments will focus on three main areas: infrastructure for multimodal transport; infrastructure for providing water for irrigation and urban populations; and energy. Nevertheless, before the investments can be made, an estimated 10 months will be needed to organize the program's preparation unit, obtain feasibility studies for the various schemes identified and to coordinate the bidding processes of selected projects. ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE The road investments included in the multimodal transport infrastructure spending will involve paving at least 200km of highways and will cost approximately US$80mn. These include three main areas. The first is the center-east corridor, which includes Ruta 5 between La Paz and Federal (78km); Ruta 20 between Villaguay and Basavilbaso (60km), and Ruta 22 and Villaguay (92km); and highway 51 between Urdinarrain and Larroque (45km). Also on the agenda is east-west integration, which will entail works on the 45km Bovril-Ruta 12 road; Ruta 5 between Federal and Los Charruas (80km); the 95km stretch between San Salvador and Sauce de Luna; and 50km between Ruta 19 and Ruta 6. Other works include Ruta 28 from Feliciano to Río Guayquiraró (22km); Nogoyá-Ruta 18 (65km); Ruta 23-Villa Elisa-Caseros (45km); Rutas 45 and 12 leading to Ibicuy port (25km); and Ruta A08-Ruta 12-Villa Paranacito (23km). PORT INFRASTRUCTURE The US$18.5mn proposed investments in the province's river port infrastructure will first require the preparation of and consolidation of master plans for the three ports in Entre Ríos: Ibicuy, Diamante and Concepción de Uruguay. These master plans will involve the formulation of a definitive investment program for the ports and especially for Ibicuy, given its strategically important location close to the end of the Paraná-Paraguay waterway. RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE The plans for rail transport include spending to ensure the functioning of the existing network and improvements to rail access to the ports, which will involve reconstruction of some stretches of line. These lines will be: 30km between Diamante port and Crespo; 15km from Libertador San Martín to Ibicuy port; and a 65km stretch between Concepción de Uruguay port and Basavibaso. IRRIGATION AND POTABLE WATER INFRASTRUCTURE The province's spending on water supply for agriculture will entail the interconnection of reservoirs for irrigation of rice and other crops in the high areas of the Gualeguay river, the Salto Grande lake and Los Conquistadores, and in the provincial departments Concordia, Federación, Feliciano and Federal. The potable water requirements of urban populations in Paraná and Diamante departments in the west of the province will be supplied by the regional aqueduct of the west. This structure will be around 220km in length. ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE The priority for the province's energy investments will be the Cierre Norte of the provincial system, which will involve construction of 120km of high-tension lines between Los Conquistadores, La Paz and Santa Elena. This, plus complementary works, will cost some US$9.5mn. The program also outlines US$22.9mn to be invested in the 500/132 Gran Paraná transformer station, as well as spending to improve other existing transformer stations and distribution centers, gas pipelines to industrial and intensive agricultural areas and identification and development of alternative energy sources based on agriculture.

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