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Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2008 15:25:56 -0300
Subject: 2002/2008 ROAD Alert

Remembering the 2002 Johannesburg Petition by SOS MANANCIAL/ SP Brazil. A coalition of civil society organizations have recently sent an important document to OHL - Brazil. Soon this Final Petition will be published. Today, the Autopista Regis Bittencourt is under OHL Obrascon Huarte Lain private concession, and the Civil Society hopes to save the Enlargement of the Mercosul Highway from Threats and Fragmentation of the Atlantic Coastal Range Peaks (Serra do Mar/ Serra São Lourencinho ou Juquiaquassu), the Cloud Rainforest, its Water Resources and this Biodiversity Hot Spot. More resource-efficient alternative - locational or technological - is required.

Enlargement of the Mercosul Highway threatens a Hot Spot in Brazilian Rainforest

by S Lourencinho

Mountains / Caçador Basin - A global loss - Johannesburg 2002

The enlargement of the Mercosul Hiway, in the way that it has been projected may cause irreversible damage to the CAÇADOR water basin, a Hot Spot in the area core of Atlantic Rainforest World Heritage, diminishing its biodiversity and impacting permanently water, of this critical biological corridor, within and without private conservation unit, in the buffer zone of State Parks, and demands urgent action.

The official projects presented for duplication of the Hiway, establishing a new and independent route crossing the highest top of these mountains, and fragmenting the rainforest and water resources have been severely contested by a coalition of more than 200 Civil Society Organizations, professional associations, syndicates, as well as respected citizens of the local community, the scientific community and the international community, in consonance with the Federal Public Attorney, the IPT- Technological Research Institute - and the Brazilian Tunnelling Committee.

Some relevant aspects pointed by this Civil Society Coalition are: the official Environmental Studies lacks of fidedignity, exactitude and sufficiency of; the engineering project offered for transposition of the Caçador Basin, through the Alternative of enlargement, in the slope of the existing roadbed, creates impediments for its own viability; the amplification to "12 meters" of the central space in between the ascending and descending lanes, on the project of the Alternative were is the existing roadbed, lacks of technical and economical justification. This amplification occurs only in the Serra Cafezal Sector , and very exceptionally in the Caçador Basin; The addition of an exceptionally third descending lane to the Alternative along the existing roadbed - lacks of technical and economical justification. Along the 400 kilometres of the Mercosul Hiway the usual pattern adopted is 2 lanes by direction of traffic; The exceptionally maximization of the central space between the ascending and descending lanes, plus, the addition of a third descending lane, results in excluding an effective locational ALTERNATIVE for the transposition of the Caçador Basin; the addition of viaducts and tunnels to the Alternatives, afterwards - posterioris - the Environmental License, unbalances the possibility of correct judgment and choice of the best locational Alternative-, which is the objective of the Environmental License, in this stage of the process; the Civil Society is basically against the independent route for the transposition of the Caçador Basin, which will bisect every sparkling pure water streams, just born on the top of this mountains and will irreversibly destroy important neo-tropical natural habitats, and Iterei, a private protected area, which is a sanctuary for the local fauna, endemic and in extinction.

The Civil Society Coalition has offered more resource-efficient technological alternative for a life-cycle economy with substantial advantages of tunnelling inside the mountain where is the existing roadbed in the left slope of the Caçador River - direction São Paulo to FLORIANÓPOLIS. This tunnel alternative diminishing transport costs, reducing the time of travelling, eliminating 3 kilometers of the total 26 kilometers, eliminating curves, at a cost very similar to the planed on the surface due to some ambiguities highlighted in the official project. The Civil Society Coalition and Federal Attorney are playing a leading role in this important project and also supports the Alternative, where is the existing roadbed, since the optimisation of its enlargement if projected accordling to the IPT- Technological Research Institute and the respected engineer Horacio Ortiz, is the best option under the geological, geotechnical a, biotic and economical point of view. However, all the Civil Society Coalition actions (Public Meetings, Manifestations, Acts and Debates, technical and scientific reports, statements and articles, popular petitions, legal action by the Brazilian Lawyers Environmental Commission OAB) and even the Recommendations of the Federal Attorney have been absolutely ignored and the Brazilian Environmental Agency (IBAMA) is willing to give the environment license, to the contested Alternative of this project sponsored by the IDB, foreseeing the highway privatisation . Unhappily the highway department "ad terrorem " arguments have prevailed upon the voice of Society who offers consistent arguments and efforts to play an active role in creating a sustainable future.


Help to spread the word in the development and acceptance of alternative methods for the widening of he Mercosul Hiway, and saving from fragmentation, and the consequently irreversible damage, the oceanic rainforest slope of the Caçador Basin and Iterei, a fauna sanctuary.

Carta Aberta a Cidadania - Petition
Protestors block Brazil road project The Earth Times - By Jack Freeman 13 April 1997

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