BRASILIA (Reuters) – China Communications Construction Co (CCCC) is preparing to bid on a 5.3-billion-reais ($1.42 billion) bridge project in Brazil, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday.

The Chinese construction company is in talks with a subsidiary of China Railway Construction Corp to jointly bid on the project, although neither the bid nor the partnership was finalized, the source said.

The project involves building and operating a bridge connecting Salvador, the state capital of Bahia, and the city of Vera Cruz on the island of Itaparica.

The Chinese companies’ interest in the project was first reported by domestic newspaper Valor Economico on Monday. The companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The bridge has been discussed since the 1960s and would be put up for bidding with several associated stretches of roadways as part of a 35-year public-private concession contract.

The 12.4-kilometer (7.7-mile) span is part of a plan to spur economic growth and much-needed infrastructure to the underdeveloped island of Itaparica, known as a weekend beach getaway for the residents of Salvador. From the capital, the island’s main municipality of Vera Cruz is accessible only by ferry or a 4-hour drive to circumvent the bay separating the cities.

The project is still in the public consultation phase and a call for bids has not been issued.

CCCC is also studying a bid on the FIOL and Ferrograo railway concessions that the federal government aims to put up for bidding, according to the source.

FIOL would transport grains and minerals from Brazil’s interior to the port of Ilheus in Bahia on the eastern coast, while Ferrograo would follow the course of key grain highway BR-163 and allow for shipments to ports in the north.

($1 = 3.7287 reais)

Reporting by Jake Spring; Additional reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Bernadette Baum


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