Controversy surrounds the project to build a new bridge connecting Paraguay’s capital, Asuncion, with Chaco'I and spanning the Paraguay River. A number of irregularities have surfaced with regard to the project.
Building the 449m Heroes del Chaco bridge was initially expected to cost around US$115 million. However, there are questions over both the design of the structure as well as the way it is gaining the necessary approvals. There are also concerns that the cost of the project could increase. Much of the funding required for the project is being provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). But if the cost escalates, it is unclear where the additional financing will come from.
Around $18.5 million has already been paid out to the builders for the construction work by the Ministry of Public Works and Communications (MOPC). The bridge building work is being carried out by a consortium, Consorcio Union, made up of the contractors CDD Construcciones and Constructora Heisecke.
Paraguay's Public Contracts Board (DNCP) carried out an investigation into the project in August 2020, which was closed in December 2020. However, the concern over the design and approvals process means that DNCP will investigate the project further.
The new bridge project is required as the existing bridge spanning the Paraguay River in the Asuncion is area is no longer able to cope with traffic demand. A new bridge between Asuncion and Chaco'I would improve transport and do away with the slow and unreliable ferry service at this point. The bridge would also provide an important international transport link, by allowing more direct traffic to and from Paraguay’s neighbour, Argentina.