Chilean Public Works Minister Hernán de Solminihac recently inaugurated a new 9.6 million US dollars highway - Route 9 - connecting Puerto Natales to Villa Cerro Castillo, in the region of the Torres del Paine National Park, extreme south of the country.
The road is expected to help increase tourism in the area (reducing travel time between Puerto Natales and the park) and to generally improve connectivity in the remote area of Patagonia.
“This work is very important because it allows close connectivity to the park,” Solminihac said.
The park is a popular hiking destination in Chile and attracts a large number of backpackers from all over the world.
More than 160,000 people are expected to visit the park in 2010, and a 14% increase is expected in 2011, especially with the new road.
“We have created new technology, which we expect to result in more resources, enabling more cost savings,” Solminihac added. “At the same level of investment e can gain more miles of pavement”.
Mayor Anahí Cardenas, of the Torres del Paine Municipality, expressed her appreciation for the new road: “It is a tremendous progress to have paved a road from Punta Arenas to Cerro Castillo.”
By Radhika Sanghani – Santiago Times