Chillán–Collipulli Highway (Autopista del Bosque)

 This highway, located 400 kilometres south of Santiago in Chile (the highway starts at the 413th kilometre), is 165 kilometres long, extending from Chillán to Collipulli. This project marks a new stage in VINCI Construction Grands Projets’ expansion in Latin America. The VINCI Group was the first French company to enter the highway-concession market in Chile. In all, 36 months were needed to build this highway that includes a dual 2-lane carriageway over a 30-kilometre stretch that runs parallel to the Pan-American “Ruta 5 Sur.” The highway, which is an earthquake zone, includes 29 interchanges, 36 bridges, 15 footbridges, and 600 drainage and irrigation structures.


The project is part of a general plan by Ministerio de Obras Publicas (the ministry of public works) to rehabilitate and provide an alternative to the existing highway, “Ruta 5 Sur,” which connects La Serena (450 km north of Santiago) to Puerto Montt (1,200 km to the south). The objective was to resolve problems resulting from the concrete roadway’s advanced state of disrepair and the increasing volume of heavy vehicles carrying merchandise from the southernmost part of the country to the northernmost part of the continent along the Pan-American Route. Since there are no fewer than 25,000 vehicles per day and 20 accidents per month (during peak periods) on this highway, the authorities decided that safety needed to be optimized and emergency interventions facilitated.


The first difficulty encountered was having to work close to a highway with a daily volume of 25,000 cars and trucks. There was no way to slow traffic down or suspend it on the service road during the whole length of the project. That is why signs and temporary protection structures were implemented to ensure safety and good traffic conditions for all users. A special team was created from among the workforce to carry out this vital safety mission.
There was an added complication associated with the region’s climate, which had an impact mainly on drainage works. This part of Chile is very rainy (with annual precipitation of 1,100 mm) and has sandy soil; as a result, we had to act quickly to protect the roadway from groundwater flow and prevent catastrophic erosion.
We delivered 29 interchanges to provide connections to the region’s main cities and thoroughfares, 36 bridges to ford rivers, including some with torrential flow (2,400 m3/s), 15 footbridges, 600 drainage works to manage stormwater and east-to-west irrigation, 300 kilometres of culverts and ditches, and 2 main toll gates and 12 secondary toll gates.


This section provides motorists with enhanced safety conditions, including the presence of ambulances, free towing services, and 24-hour patrols. Motorists can easily use the safety terminals. In addition, problems may also be detected by personnel who monitor the network.


To ensure safety and good traffic conditions during the length of the project, a certain number of precautions were implemented. For instance, a special team was created from among the project personnel to carry out this vital safety mission: they are called the “bandereros.” Their task included putting up signs and temporary protection structures. This safety-related position has a bright future in this country given its ambitious highway-construction program.
The Chillán-Collipulli project quickly became the region’s leading employer and has renewed infrastructure that had become inadequate.
Furthermore, the project was also one of the quickest final deliveries received by Chile’s ministry of public works as part of its concession program

Project participants

Autopista Del Bosque S.A.

Project management
Inspecion Fiscal

Key figures

Implementation dates
septembre 1999 à juin 2003    





« We are driven to train local managers and workers in our work methods and techniques and to cohabitate with him harmoniously for the sake of professional continuity. This isn’t just an effective approach, it is also a key means of gaining acceptance abroad for our businesses. »

Jean François Paulus, Project Manger, Latin America

Maliakos-Kleidi motorway