Chile adamant about awarding ski road concession

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Chile's plans to award a concession to upgrade a mountain road near Santiago leading to popular ski resorts have not even advanced to the bunny slopes – but the government remains undeterred.

No bidders have taken the US$107mn concession contract bait so far.

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The public works ministry (MOP) is determined to find a firm to take up the offer, local daily El Mercurio reported.

The tender was originally launched in 2012 and bids for the G21 Santiago-Farellones route were due in July this year. The deadline was pushed back three months as no technical bids had been submitted.

The government has discarded the idea of providing any additional subsidies. "It does not seem reasonable," MOP head Alberto Undurraga was quoted as saying.

A heavy concentration of traffic during only two months of the year, resulting in high toll fees for motorists, would be one of the reasons for the lack of interest in the project, head of concessionaire group Copsa Juan Eduardo Saldivia told newspaper Diario Financiero.

Another reason would be the elevated costs associated with geological conditions as well as EIA approval, for the project would have an impact on the area's Yerba Loca nature reserve.

As of October 13, 19 companies had shown interest in the tender, including Besalco, Belfi, Sacyr, OHL, Brotec, and the project sponsor, Icafal, among others.

MOP wants to award the project, part of a US$1.6bn package of seven initiatives, before year-end, in a move to boost a weakening economy.