The government of Peru has chosen to ally with France to build a $3.1bn highway that will connect Lima with regions in the centre of the country.
Peruvian President Francisco Sagasti made the announcement during a visit to the Junin region last week, adding that France had been chosen after a "rigorous selection process" carried out by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The selection process began in August, and an initial list of 24 states were reduced to a shortlist ofÂ South Korea, Spain, France and Japan. These presented their technical and economic proposals last month, after which the French team was named as winner.
The Nueva Carretera Central, or new central highway, will be a four-lane motorway with about 30km of tunnels, as well as a number of bridges and causeways. It will begin in Huaycán, in Lima Province, and run northeast through about five major centres to Santa Rosa de Sacco, a distance of about 136km. Â
- See a digital overview of the project:
In a Twitter comment posted on Sunday, President Sagasti said: "This week I announced in Huancayo the start of construction of the #NuevaCarreteraCentral under the government-to-government modal, a project that has been planned for decades, which will connect Lima with the central regions of the country and help to reactivate the economy."
France is to provide the Peruvian government with technical assistance for the project. Augusto Villanueva, a partner in legal firm Villanueva Llaque, told the El Comercio newspaper that France would set up a project management office to help the Peruvian side through the design, procurement, construction and commissioning stages, both with technical advice and "access to suppliers of international stature".
When complete in 2025, the Nueva Carretera Central will cut the driving time between Lima and Junin to about two hours.
Image: President Francisco Sagasti being briefed on the plans for the Nueva Carretera Central (ANDINA/Presidency of the Republic)