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Chile, Argentina to build two trans-Andes tunnels

Chile and Argentina agreed Friday to build road and railway tunnels across their common border in a project aimed at opening two new routes through the towering Andes, officials said.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner signed the agreement here as part of a broader treaty to promote integration and cooperation along their mountainous 5,000-kilometer (3,100 miles) border.

Bachelet said the agreement was the first of its kind in Latin America, while Kirchner said its aim was to “unite the potential that helps generate better living conditions for our people.”

The railway project, which is not new, calls for a 23-kilometer (14-mile) tunnel through the Andes mountain chain to link the cities of Mendoza in Argentina and Los Andes in Chile.

It would take between eight and 10 years to build and cost an estimated three billion dollars.

The agreement also calls for boring a second cross-border tunnel through the Andes at Paso de Agua Negra for a highway linking northern Chile and Argentina.

The tunnel would supplement the Los Libertadores tunnel in the central part of the country, which is often closed by snow.

 -AFP

 

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