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Problem Project

Southern Interoceanic Highway (Peru-Brazil)

This controversial transcontinental road project threatens the environment and indigenous communities in both Peru and Brazil.

Location Peru
Total Cost US$2,000 million
Funding CAF; BNDES;
Status Financed


The Southern Interoceanic Corridor (also called the “Interoceanic” or “Bioceanic” Highway) is one of the anchor projects of the Peru-Brazil-Bolivia corridor of the IIRSA initiative (Infrastructure Integration of the South American Region).   This project consists of the construction and rehabilitation of a total of 2,603 kilometers of roads linking the Amazon state of Acre in Brazil with the port cities of Ilo, Matarani and San Juan de Marcona along the southern coast of Peru.  The Brazilian side of the highway is already partially constructed, with routes BR-364 and BR-317 already paved from the Brazilian cities of Porto Velho and Río Branco to the border with Peru at Iñapari. For this reason, discussion of the Transoceanic Highway generally refers to the rehabilitation and improvement of three roads which link the Peru-Brazil border with the coast of Peru (see map in Figure 1).

Figure 1: Map of the Transoceanic Highway [1]


According to its proponents, construction of the Transoceanic Highway will facilitate transport of Brazilian goods to the Pacific coast (and Asian markets) as well as the transport of Asian products to the Atlantic coast (and US, European and Brazilian markets).  Ex-president of Peru Alejandro Toledo asserted that the highway will increase access of Peruvian products to markets in Brazil and that the project will lead to an 1.5% annual increase in GDP. 



On the Brazilian side, which has a more complete highway system, the investment focuses on the construction of an international bridge over the Acre River and a more efficient means of border passage.  On the Peruvian side, planned works include the construction of a paved highway over the already-existing stretch between the Inambari River and the Brazilian border, as well as the rehabilitation and/or improvement of three already paved roads that cross the Andes to connect with the ports of San Juan de Marcona, Matarani and Ilo on the southern coast of Peru.   

On the Peruvian side, the project consists of the construction and rehabilitation of a total of 2,586 km of highway, more than 17 km of urban routes (not including the urban zone of Juliaca). In order to facilitate the implementation of the necessary works, the project is divided into five sections (see Table 1).

Table 1: sections of the Southern transoceanic highway [2]

Section No.  Planned Connections Length Paved (in km.) Length unpaved Date of Publication of Final Contract Date of Contract Award
   1 San Juan de Marcona-Urcos      763       0 27 January 2006 29 August 2007
   2 Urcos-Inambari        0     300 13 June 2005 23 June 2005
   3 Inambari-Iñapari        0     403 13 June 2005 23 June 2005
   4 Inambari-Azángaro        0     306 13 June 2005 23 June 2005
   5 Ilo-Juliaca; Matarani-Azángaro; Puente Gallatini-Humajalso      752      62 27 January 2006  

Figure 2: sections of the southern Transoceanic highway


In addition to the rehabilitation of the Transoceanic Highway, the project includes the construction of around 22 bridges at various points along the corridors, among which the Presidente Guillermo Billinghurst Bridge is included. The Billinghurst Bridge will cross the Madre de Dios River just a few meters from Puerto Maldonado, the main city in the department of Madre de Dios. This bridge will measure722 meters long from end to end, and will hang 528 meters long. PROVIAS NACIONAL is in charge of the feasibility study of this project, which will require an investment of approximately US$22 million.[3]


[1] Taken from La Integración Regional entre Bolivia, Brasil y Perú. 2002. Wagner, A. y Rosario Santa Gadea Duarte, eds. CEPEI, Lima.

[2] The majority of this data can be found on the web page of ProInversión

[3] Patrón, P. “Préstamo para una carretera riesgosa” in Observatory Bulletin IFIS Nº 4, no date. Civil Labor Association, Lima, Peru.

Last updated 22 December 2010
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