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Presidents of Brazil and Paraguay to launch the construction of a new bridge between the countries
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07/05/2019

Among the activities that celebrate Itaipu's 45th Anniversary (on May 17th), presidents Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil) and Mario Abdo Benitez (Paraguay) will launch the foundation stone of the second bridge between Brazil and Paraguay next friday (May 10th). The construction of the bridge over the Paraná River, connecting Foz do Iguaçu (in the Brazilian side) and Presidente Franco (Paraguayan side), is expected to begin by the end of the semester.

The meeting of the presidents Jair Bolsonaro and Mario Abdo Benítez for the signature ceremony will be at 1 pm, at the Marco das Três Fronteiras, in the Porto Meira region, in Foz do Iguaçu. State ministers, directors and advisors of Itaipu, representatives of the National Department of Transport Infrastructure (Dnit) and the Government of Paraná, among other authorities will join the ceremony.

The new bridge will be built on the Paraná River, between Foz do Iguaçu (PR) and Presidente Franco, a Paraguayan city next to Ciudad del Este, where the Ponte da Amizade (Friendship Bridge) is located. It’s the busiest border in Brazil, with an intense traffic of vehicles and people, demanding for the construction of a new bridge to deal with heavy traffic, leaving the Friendship Bridge for tourists and locals crossing.

The second bridge, according to the Brazilian General Director of Itaipu, Joaquim Silva and Luna, is very important to provide a better infrastructure for the region. "It will strengthen the regional integration and improve the infrastructure for trade and tourism between the two countries" he says. The construction had already been contracted by the National Department of Infrastructure (Dnit) in 2014, but the project was not followed up at the time, due to lack of funds. The project resumption is due to the Itaipu Binacional funding.

The construction cost was estimated in R$ 456,138,389.24, considering the building the framework, expropriations and the setup of a perimeter on the Brazilian side. Through an agreement, all the works will be managed by the government of Paraná.

With the new Foz-Presidente Franco connection, the International Bridge of Friendship will be used exclusively for light vehicles and tour buses. This bridge is today the main economic corridor between Brazil and Paraguay. It has helped the Paraguayan city to be lifted up to the position of third largest free zone in the world.

Paraguayan General Director of Itaipu, José Alberto Alderete, recalled that the Friendship Bridge was built 54 years ago and that it is necessary to have more access roads with Brazil to promote the country's economic activity. He also added that the complementary infrastructure works planned for President Franco will be carried out by Paraguayan companies.

Antecipated for many years, the second bridge between the two countries will be a further spur to regional development, as it will create new jobs, strengthen integration, support freight logistics and mitigate the traffic at the Foz do Iguaçu Center and on the Friendship Bridge.