REPORTS in this issue from:
- United Kingdom
RING ROAD BRINGS BETTER PROSPECTS
Economically and politically stable, Brazil has become the most fashionable of the so called BRIC group of emerging economies. With a rising demand for food and energy, Brazil is extremely well placed;
a massive farming sector
and soon to be important oil exporting industry.
It is no exaggeration to say that Brazil is almost at Superpower status. But it is not there yet, and the task of transforming the country is far from complete – not least the modernization of its dilapidated infrastructure, which is unable to cope with the demands being put upon it.
Sao Paulo is Brazil’s largest city and part of one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas, numbering some 17 million people. At present 93% of the cargo for the city is carried by road on a system that is chronically unable to cope with demand. Massive traffic jams of 100 km long are commonplace, rising to an incredible 200 km in bad weather, weekends and holidays, effectively shutting down the city. Of the 1.1 million vehicles that drive into Sao Paulo every day, almost a third – 300,000 – are just passing through and do not need to enter the city. Of these are 19,000 trucks, which damage the roads, add to pollution, congestion and the cost of freight.
The answer – the Rodoanel Mario Covas – an enormous 170 km long four-lane ringroad around the city that will intercept the 10 major highways that lead into Sao Paulo, allowing traffic that doesn’t need to enter the city the ability to rotate around it and avoid the congestion.
Broken into four sections that vary from 20 to 40 km from the centre of the city, the Rodoanel is among the most important engineering projects in the country today. Its West section opened in 2002 but political and economic upheaval meant that progress stalled. But now the impetus is behind it and the entire road is set for completion by the time Brazil hosts the next World Cup in 2014.
When completed the Rodoanel will be able to cut truck traffic by over 40% in the worst affected places.
The Southern section of the beltway is currently under construction, at a cost of $1.7 billion. At 64 km long, it will connect with the Western stretch and allow easier access to the economically crucial port area. The project is being managed by Desenvolvimento Rodoviario SA (Dersa), representing the government of Sao Paulo, who has divided up the Southern section into five contracts, or Lots.
Each Lot is being worked on simultaneously, allowing for an accelerated construction programme that will see handover in 2010, despite the need to construct 136 bridges and viaducts. [cont]