Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his Chilean counterpart, Michele Bachelet have sealed the deal to go forward with the Agua Negra project, consisting of two tunnels connecting Chile and Argentina. Great news—especially for all those Argentines who can’t find Adidas superstars their shoe size in the country.
The tunnels will be a significant improvement from the current border crossing point, located 4.765 meters above sea level and inoperable for freight transportation. Instead, the Agua Negra project promises the installation of two 13.9-kilometer multi-lane tunnels.
Each tunnel will account for a two-lane road, meant to ease traffic flow and additional side space for pedestrians. There will be passageways connecting both tunnels, given any case of emergency. Built-in ventilation systems, fire protection and fume extraction systems have been designed as well. Sanatoriums and Firefighter stations will be located at each of the tunnel’s exits, to provide immediate assistance if needed.
The tunnels will also be accessible for cargo transportation; one of the project’s main objectives being to simplify the connection between the ports on the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean.
Macri has assured that the connecting tunnels will allow Argentina to “look towards the Pacific and conquer new markets with the products of our regional economies”. According to the President, the project guarantees a rise in exports for the provinces of Catamarca, Córdoba, Jujuy, La Rioja, Salta, Tucumán and San Juan.
Empezamos el proceso para construir el túnel Paso de Agua Negra, una salida directa al Pacífico para productos regionales desde San Juan pic.twitter.com/2JQAlJ2Rva
— Mauricio Macri (@mauriciomacri) October 28, 2016
Access to the Pacific Ocean signifies the development of a previously restricted relationship: connections with the Eastern Hemisphere. Macri described the possibilities of “Wines and garlic in Japan, olives from La Rioja in Australia…” among many others.
Agua Negra accounts for funding provided by the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID). In total, the administration will receive a total of US $1.600 million from the BID in order to complete the project.
There is no question that the project underway will be a significant improvement between Argentina’s and Chile’s diplomatic relations. Not to mention, the possible involvement of Argentina into economies of the Pacific.