Toll highway in Santiago opened to traffic
Essen, Germany – HOCHTIEF realizes public-private partnership project in Chile – World’s most modern toll system commissioned In Santiago de Chile, one of the country’s most important toll highways was opened to traffic 2006-01-04, three months ahead of schedule. The Vespucio Norte Express, as it is called, links Chile’s north and south highways. A consortium in which HOCHTIEF PPP Solutions GmbH has a 45 percent share will operate the 30 kilometer long northwestern section of the beltway around Chile’s capital until 2033. HOCHTIEF Construction AG was one of the main contractors. The project has an investment volume of EUR 520 million, which will be refinanced through tolls over the 27-year operating period. Upon expiry of the concession contract, the road will be transferred to the ownership of the Chilean state.
The Vespucio Norte Express, one of four urban toll highways in Santiago, forms part of the Chilean concession program. In order to ease the traffic situation in the city, the existing four-lane road has been expanded into a six-lane, junction-free highway.
Tolls are charged by means of a fully electronic multilane freeflow system: an on-board unit mounted on each vehicle‘s windscreen communicates with the electronic equipment on the steel portals over the highway. The system is considered to be currently the most modern of its kind in the world and is used for all highway sections in the capital, a total length of some 150 kilometers.
With an anticipated 75,000 vehicles a day in 2006, rising to some 150,000 a day in 2020, Vespucio Norte Express will be one of the most heavily frequented roads in Chile. The northwest of Santiago de Chile is the fastest growing part of the capital and is seen as a center of real estate and industrial development in the city.
To finance the project, an infrastructure bond worth the equivalent of about EUR 350 million was placed on the local capital market in mid-2004. The bond, with an international AAA rating, was sold within minutes and was 80 percent oversubscribed. This innovative form of financing received the LatinFinance Award as ‘Best Project Finance Deal of 2004’.
HOCHTIEF is playing a key role in two other toll-route projects in Chile. It is financing, designing and building the San Cristóbal toll tunnel, also in Santiago de Chile, and will operate it for a period of 30 years. In Southern Chile, in another concession project, the company is realizing the Chiloé Bridge. When this is completed in 2012, it will link the Chilean mainland with the island of Chiloé and be the longest bridge in South America.