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Interest has been strong in the tender process for the Agua Negra Tunnel project that will connect Chile and Argentina. In all 10 consortia comprising 29 firms submitted bids to build the tunnel, which will provide a new road link from Coquimbo in Chile to San Juan in Argentina. The winning tender is due to be announced in early 2018. It is highly likely that the winner will include local firms and Chilean companies in particular have access to personnel with experience of tunnelling work due to the country’s extensive hard rock mining sector.
The new route will boost trade and transport between the two countries and financial support is likely from several local and international sources. When it opens to traffic the new tunnel will provide a more dependable transport link between the countries than is currently available in the area. One existing tunnel is at a high altitude and its portals can be blocked during winter. The other route is a high mountain pass that is not suited to use by heavy traffic and is even more likely to be impassable in winter.

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