A Spanish company and two Chinese firms will build a 148-kilometer (92-mile) railway in central Bolivia, a $250 million project financed by La Paz, President Evo Morales said.
Jose Manuel Otero, president of Spanish construction firm Puentes y Calzadas, which leads the Yapilo consortium, signed one of the contracts Thursday in eastern Bolivia with the Andean nation's Public Works Ministry, spokespersons for that portfolio said.
Morales was on hand for the signing ceremony in the eastern town of Montero, Santa Cruz province, one end of the planned railway that will run to Bulo Bulo, a town in the central province of Cochabamba.
The construction of the railway was divided into three sections, which were awarded to China's CAMC and China Railway and to Yapilo, which is responsible for the bridges.
The contracts with the Chinese companies will be signed in a few days once the necessary bank documents have been submitted, Morales said.
The first and second sections will cost $104 million and $83 million, respectively, while the bridges will have a $47 million price tag, Morales said.
The remaining funds will cover the cost of supervising and inspecting the project, which is to be completed in two years.
The railway will link up with another line in Santa Cruz, facilitating shipments of urea and ammonia from a petrochemical plant in Bulo Bulo to Brazil and Argentina.
In the future, the Montero-Bulo Bulo line will be part of a larger rail network connecting Atlantic and Pacific ports, Morales said, adding that he had discussed that project with Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff. EFE