China’s HKND Group said that a recent survey has shown that 78% of Nicaraguans support the USD 50 billion project to build a 172-mile shipping waterway cutting through this Central American country, Bloomberg reports.
The company also said that it is open to the possibility of changing the planned route to avoid the small town of El Tulle, whose residents are fiercely opposing the construction of the Nicaragua Grand Canal.
The new route would push the Canal some 500 metres from the centre of the town, and would cost additional USD 700 million, the company said.
Nicaragua Grand Canal is a proposed 172-mile waterway, 230 to 520 metres wide and 27.6 metres deep, making it longer, wider and deeper than the 51-mile Panama Canal to the south.
The project is expected to be completed in five years with the Canal becoming operational by 2020. According to HKDN Group, the Canal project will include 6 sub projects: the Canal (including locks), 2 ports, a free trade zone, holiday resorts, an international airport and several roads. In addition, there will be construction of a power station, cement factory, steel factory and other related facilities.
HKND Group is pressing on with the project, and has recently contracted the international geological and resource consultancy CSA Global of Australia to conduct an aerial geological survey of the canal route and Lake Nicaragua shore line.
The survey will cover a 10km-wide area along the proposed canal route alignment connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific and the 2km-wide circumference of Lake Nicaragua, with a planned commencement in September 2015 and completion by March 2016.
“The survey is a major step in the construction development process and supports pre-works planning, design and engineering for the canal and infrastructure,” said senior advisor of HKND Group, John Murray.
World Maritime News Staff