Transport wants BR-319 fenced and with passage for animals – 04/02/2024 – Environment

Transport wants BR-319 fenced and with passage for animals – 04/02/2024 – Environment


The Ministry of Transport is in the final phase of its proposal for the paving of the controversial BR-319 highway, which cuts through the Amazon and connects Manaus to Porto Velho.

The department, led by Renan Filho (MDB), is working on the project of a 500-kilometer highway, in a park-road model, isolated by fences and with electronic monitoring. This stretch connects Humaitá to Manicoré, both in Amazonas.

BR-319 is the only land connection that reaches Manaus. The highway is around 900 kilometers long in total, but the stretch of land inside the forest tends to be impassable during the rainy season. Other sections are already paved or are included in other projects, with different environmental licensing processes.

The paving of this section in the forest, however, faces great resistance from environmentalists. They argue that the works themselves and the future road will drive population in the region, attracting land grabbers and causing an increase in environmental crimes.

In August last year, the BR-319 paving project was included in the New PAC (Growth Acceleration Program). The Lula government, however, sought to clarify that it was not the work that was present in the program, but only the projects and feasibility studies.

The Ministry of Transport claims to work with the park road concept, with concern for both infrastructure and environmental preservation and local communities. Technicians describe the project as a new concept of an environmental highway, monitored and isolated from the surrounding world.

The idea is that there will be four-meter fences, preventing the road from passing into the forest and vice versa — there will only be three or four accesses to villages that are already consolidated around the highway.

In addition, the project foresees 170 wildlife crossings, that is, places for animals to cross, without anyone needing to cross the road.

The road will be elevated, so there will be crossing areas below. The project also includes protection nets and animal crossings built over the highway.

The working group’s report on the topic is receiving the latest contributions and should be sent to Palácio do Planalto in the first half of April.

The issue is thorny: it opposes the region’s political class, which has been pushing for the paving of the highway for decades, and environmentalists, who point to the growth of deforestation if this occurs.

Thus, the ministry’s idea is, first, to guarantee greater governance in the region, with fixed posts for the Federal Police, the Federal Highway Police and environmental agencies. And, with that, seek a solution for the highway that, in practice, already exists.

The highway will have two large “portals”, where there will be police units, as well as representations from other agencies.

The proposal also talks about controlling weapons and transporting heavy machinery and equipment that could cause environmental damage, such as tractors and backhoes. To this end, all transport will be inspected and there will be a traffic license for this equipment, according to the proposal.

The ministry does not yet have a ready model of how the highway would work. Therefore, there is no exact figure for how much it would cost. Preliminary studies by Dnit (National Department of Transport Infrastructure) speak of R$2 billion.

Today there is a debate about the possible concession or incentivized contracting of services. In the ministry’s plans, there must still be hiring of labor from local communities.

The ministry’s idea is that, regardless of the decision to pave the stretch or not, it will be necessary to expand monitoring and governance in the region, to control crime.

“Even at times when it is almost impossible to travel, people continue to use that space. Now we need to repair historical processes and think ahead, as a monitoring and preservation strategy”, said the ministry’s undersecretary for sustainability, Cloves Benevides.

“We are here seeking to reconstruct the circumstances of viability”, he also stated. “Because we are talking about the Amazon forest. But we are also talking about the right to exist, about the connection of two Brazilian states.”

The secretary, responsible for the project’s technical work, also highlighted that the idea is to propose the most monitored highway in the world, “the best environmentally sustainable road we can achieve”.

According to him, if the licensing is finalized this year, the work could take around two years.

The park road proposal may face resistance from the Environment, but the final word belongs to Palácio do Planalto. A working group was created in November last year, with only members from Transport, who carried out consultations with other departments and bodies, to consolidate a government proposal.

Months before, its creation had already been anticipated by Lula, in an interview with radio stations in the North region. Publicly, her defense is so that there is a final answer to the issue.

“We decided to create a special group to give the definitive word on whether or not we can do [a BR-319]what problems are we going to have and what can we avoid”, he said. “We need to give a guarantee to the people of Rondônia, to the people of Amazonas, that we are going to deal with this issue responsibly”, he added.


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