Amazon to Andes Highway
Tony Morrison reports.. 2007

2007 At a cost of 1.3 billion dollars a road is being driven west from a remote corner of Brazil. The route leads through virgin Amazon rainforest to the Andes mountains Then after crossing a pass higher than Mont Blanc the road descends to the Pacific coast and opens the way to Asia. On the map yellow is almost complete

UPDATE October 2011 -- Most of the route is now hard-top complete and the International Bridge across the Madre de Dios river at Puerto Maldonado has been opened. Also on this site

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2012 --In November Tony Morrison and John Forrest gave a presentation at a meeting of the Anglo Peruvian Society in London to outline how the road was affecting the Madre de Dios Region and the way it could be used to carry forest products to Peruvian, Pacific ports. MORE...

The white areas are cleared rainforest. Green and greenish brown are forest. Assis Brasil where the story begins is at the left of the image. By using Google Earth live the new road can be followed southwards - here the road is on the left of the image. The InterOceanica follows the path of a poor quality and often impassable unpaved route which has existed for many years
The following images are from South American Pictures
ASSIS-BRASIL is a town of about 4000 on the frontier with Peru is at the far west of Brazil's all-weather road system. The road has already come 2500 miles from the Atlantic and the Pacific is another 730 miles away. Soon the route from the Amazon to Asia will be complete 
This road carves through western Amazonia where tall rainforest has been replaced by grass. Already the highway connects remote Peruvian towns and villages on side roads leading to virgin forest 
The road is being built in Peru with Brazilian and international cash Three consortia are led by Brazilian companies 
A young Peruvian woman holds the 'Go -Stop' sign for traffic using the road during construction 
A dirt track has existed for some years but the route could take several days or even a couple of weeks in the rainy season. Soon the entire highway will be asphalt covered and all-weather 


Timber,carbon gases and smoke particles are the inevitable products from clearing the forest. Beef cattle graze on sown grass and produce methane 
The route has to cross many Amazon tributaries. Twenty two bridges are being built and one of these across the Madre de Dios River at Puerto Maldonado, Peru will be 722m or almost half a mile long. The cranes tower alongside the rainforest 
Puerto Maldonado in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon is growing rapidly thanks to the new highway economy. Moto tricycles from China, India and Brazil dominate the streets. Also it is a hub for 'jungle tourism' though few tourists visit the town centre. Most arrive by air and go directly to 'jungle lodges' 
After the river Madre de Dios the next major obstacles are ranges of the Andes mountains. Dense forests cover steep valleys where the way over the mountains becomes a nightmare. But the InterOceanica goes on 
The road is being used as it is being built. Trucks and buses are often stuck in mud or simply leave the road. In December 2007 a bus went over the side, rolled three times and injured 43 people 
The highest part at over 4000m is virtually complete. The road has been cut into the solid rock and the surface is paved. Cuzco the old Inca capital is an hour away 
The published PR says the goal is to boost tourism to Peru's great Andean attractions of Cuzco /Cusco and Machu Picchu the 'lost city of the Incas'. In reality the road extends along two routes across the Andes and down to good ports on Peru's desert coast.The way will be open to transport goods from the western Amazon to the resources-hungry Asian markets

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