Spanish builders OHL and Sacyr are fighting a suspension of the environmental study that would grant a permit for Chile’s Américo Vespucio Oriente Highway (AVO).
A source familiar with the legal process told InfraLatinAmerica that the company behind the project, Sociedad Concesionaria Vespucio Oriente, formed by OHL and Sacyr, submitted a claim against a resolution issued on 31 March by the Environmental Evaluation Service (SEA) in the capital region.
The environmental authority had decided to suspend the studies due to the involvement of an official under a bribery probe, the company said in a release on 31 March, when it was informed of the decision. The concessionaire said it had filed a lawsuit against anyone involved in criminal activity in SEA as of December.
The company said this event is not affecting its financial situation.
The project is expected to remain on track, the source familiar said. The concession contract includes a 30-month period to obtain environmental permits and the concessionaire requested it on November 2015. Additionally, the Ministry of Public Works is understood to be tacitly backing the project as grantor, considering that any delay is not the sponsors’ responsibility.
The USD 945m AVO will add a 9.3Km three-lane tunnel to the northeastern part of Santiago’s ring road between Av. El Salto and Av. Príncipe de Gales.
The OHL-Sacyr partnership had requested 51.5% of the maximum availability payments over the course of the 40-year contract. In the tender, the concessionaire beat a competing bid from Spanish concessionaire Cintra and Canadian investor Brookfield, according to InfraDeals.
Meanwhile, OHL and Sacyr confirmed that they are teaming up on a tender for the USD 800m Américo Vespucio Oriente East Urban Highway (AVO II) project.