The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved the Structuring Program for the Agua Negra International Cross-Border Tunnel (PETAN) through a US$40 million loan, which will allow the project to be put out to tender. The tunnel will connect San Juan province in Argentina with the Coquimbo region in Chile.
The PETAN will finance structuring and preparatory activities; provide support for the two countries’ authorities, including legal, technical, and environmental counsel and institutional strengthening; and provide the final engineering designs for the tunnel, the entire construction of which will cost approximately US$1.5 billion.
Some 8,000 to 10,000 vehicles per year currently use the existing Agua Negra border crossing, which is not suitable for freight transportation. The crossing must also be closed during intense snowfall, that is, between May and October. The new project will allow freight vehicles to use the crossing, the length of which will be shortened by 40 km, increasing road safety and reducing travel times by three hours.
The project will contribute to the integration of transportation, energy, and telecommunications infrastructure between Argentina and Chile by providing a new alternative to Los Libertadores International Border Crossing (Cristo Redentor).