Brazil and Paraguay celebrate new binational bridge
The presidents of both countries visited the site of the project that will make up the so-called Bioceanic Route.
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The presidents of Brazil and Paraguay and their delegations walked from both sides of their respective borders until they reached the middle of the 'Friendship Bridge,' where they posed in front of photographers and celebrated the significance of the work for the integration between the two countries and for Mercosur, a bloc that also includes Argentina and Uruguay.
This new project between the cities of Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil and Presidente Franco, Paraguay will "alleviate" the traffic on the Friendship Bridge, which was opened in 1965 and is the only bridge that links the countries.
"The Friendship Bridge is saturated" and this new work will give "a boost to trade, but also to tourism," another important source of resources for Paraguay's border areas, Paraguay's Mario Abdo Benítez said.
Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, who aspires to renew a previous promise, agreed with his counterpart and highlighted the agricultural potential of Brazil, Paraguay and its Mercosur partners.
He valued that "all of Mercosur" is "favorable for agriculture and livestock" and pointed out that "the world lives without much, but it does not live without food."
According to Abdo Benítez, the work at the Friendship Bridge are in the "finishing" phase and the opening of the new route is scheduled for Nov. 2.
However, the works on both the Brazilian and Paraguayan sides are still pending to provide access to the bridge.
Abdo Benítez also said the work is in full execution and with an estimated investment of some $220 million, while Bolsonaro only indicated that on the Brazilian side, "everything is also underway."
The new connection between the two countries is 760 meters long, 19 meters wide and more than 60 meters high, and is made over the Paraná River.
The work began in 2019, and was estimated to cost about $84 million, financed by the Itaipu hydroelectric dam, which is shared by Brazil and Paraguay and operates in the same area where the bridge has stood since 1973.