12 June 2012
Bidding on the Chacao Channel Bridge will start this year, Chile’s public works minister Laurence Golborne announced on a visit to the island of Chiloé.
"We need to make this bridge a reality, so that this dream of many decades becomes a concrete fact that we can feel proud of," he told islanders. The island can currently only be reached by ferry.
The 2,635m-long bridge was one of several projects planned to commemorate Chile's bicentennial in 2010 but the cost rose from an initial US$410 million in 2005 to US$930 million and the project was suspended. Design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance was to have been carried out by the Chiloé Bicentennial Bridge Consortium, consisting of Vinci, Hochtief, American Bridge, Besalco and Tecsa.
Plans were revived in 2009. Investment has now been capped at US$740 million and the aim is to have the project completed by 2019. The new design has fewer lanes and is no longer a suspension bridge.