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Chile’s breathtakingly beautiful yet challenging southern transport corridors are getting a road safety overhaul. The Ministry of Public Works (MOP) contracted a consortium led by DDQ Engineering Consultants, along with APSA and iRAP, to conduct a comprehensive assessment across 1,907km of roads in the Magallanes, Aysén, and Los Lagos regions.

Leveraging iRAP’s robust Star Rating Methodology, the recently completed study evaluated 53 routes traversing some of the world’s most remote and scenic landscapes. The findings have yielded prioritized Safer Roads Investment Plans to cost-effectively upgrade these vital connectors.

Key recommendations include:

  1. Implementing simple safety countermeasures like enhanced road markings and localized speed management on high-risk sections to improve star ratings.
  2. Clearing roadside hazards within 5 metres, which severely impact safety levels across 83% of analysed kilometres.
  3. Supplementing iRAP’s risk models with locally calibrated, geo-referenced crash data for enhanced accuracy.
  4. Tailoring the results for national and regional contexts.

“This study highlights how relatively low-cost treatments can tremendously improve road safety on even the most challenging routes,” said Julio Urzua, Director of Strategic Projects at iRAP.

“The concept of clear zones, which involves the removal of dangerous roadside hazards, will be an innovative and crucial approach to improving road safety in the south of Chile. Although new in the country, this measure has the potential to significantly reduce the severity of run-off-road crashes.

“The star ratings provide an evidence-based roadmap for making these iconic Chilean highways as safe as they are beautiful,” he added.

The investment plans will guide MOP in making these routes safer for locals and visitors alike. Implementation is already underway, with 20 regional engineers completing comprehensive training to build long-term safety assessment and countermeasure capabilities.

From the glaciers of Magallanes extending to Cape Horn, to the volcanic landscapes of Aysén and thriving aquaculture of Los Lagos, this program ensures Chile’s stunning southern roads will match the areas’ grandeur as gateways to sustainable progress.

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The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) is a Registered Charity with UN ECOSOC Consultative Status.
iRAP is registered in England and Wales under company number 05476000
Charity number 1140357

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