Update on El Palmar Road Project – 40 Kilometers Now Complete!

Mano a Mano’s counterpart organization Nuevo Mundo has been making progress on what has been one of our most challenging projects – building a 60-kilometer road in the Municipality of Culpina, Department of Chuquisaca that connects the regions with the Departments of Tarija and Cochabamba. The road will provide access and communication to 18,180 people who live in the area, allow farmers to take products to outside markets, and create opportunities for families and hope for the children of this whole region. Travel time from the village of El Palmar to Culpina’s southern border (the road to Tarija and Santa Cruz) will be reduced from 24 hours on horseback to 2 hours by truck. The project location is so isolated that it takes our staff 27 hours to drive from Cochabamba to the site.

Aerial view - a portion of the completed road

Aerial view – a portion of the completed road

Project Background

Once completed, this road will connect an entire region to its bordering departments (states) of Cochabamba and Tarija and to major markets in these cities and in Santa Cruz. Not only will it bring significant benefit to the 18,180 residents of this highly productive, isolated agricultural region; It will also make transport into and through Culpina possible for those from other areas of Bolivia who must drive hundreds of kilometers out of their way to travel around this impassable region. (Driving from St. Paul to Omaha to reach Fargo would be an approximate U.S. equivalent).

Recent Milestone – Connecting El Palmar to Tarija

Earlier this week Mano a Mano completed a portion of the road that connects a path on the side of the El Palmar town to the road to Tarija. Everybody involved in this project was excited and anxiously waiting for this part to be complete; three large trucks fully loaded with cargo and passengers waited for days at Mano a Mano camp site for the road to be connected. This is how desperate the people are to have a more direct, safe and reliable road.

Section of the road that was recently completed; this is very rocky and required dynamite to clear the sections.

Section of the road that was recently completed; this is very rocky and required dynamite to clear the sections.

These trucks had planned on traveling on a roundabout road and cross the Pilcomayo river to reach El Palmar but knowing that the river is high and a direct road was near opening, they chose this route and were able to use the new road for the first time earlier this week.

Trucks full of people using the road for the first time!

Trucks full of people using the road for the first time!



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