Chile awards major highway PPP to Chinese firm for first time

In a first for Chile, China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) has won the concession to operate and upgrade a 195km toll highway in what is billed as the country’s biggest infrastructure project and the first public-private partnership scheme awarded to a Chinese company.

Chile’s General Directorate of Public Works Concessions said CRCC offered a Total Concession Income of some $1.1bn (CLF 29.9 million), beating two other proposals submitted by Sacyr Concesiones Chile and Consortium Cintra-Intervial.  

Work involves building a new, 56km bypass and expanding a 30-km section of existing carriageways from two lanes to three.

Along 200km of the route, CRCC will upgrade drainage, lighting and landscaping, and improve connectivity to local roads.

It will also gradually replace 18 existing cash toll plazas with 13 scanning gantries that read motorists’ tags for electronic payment, easing traffic flow.

CRCC’s concession for the Talca-Chillán section of Route 5 has a variable term model and a maximum term of 32 years.

Now CRCC must start definitive engineering for government approval.

Construction is expected to begin in the first half of 2025.

The project was initially called to tender in October 2019 but the coronavirus pandemic delayed the scheme for a year.

Image: A render of the upgraded highway supplied by Chile’s General Directorate of Public Works Concessions

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