Learn how the World Bank Group is helping countries with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find Out

Santa Fe Road Infrastructure Project

October 11, 2013


The Project aimed at improving transport conditions along a strategic road corridor that links the Province of Santa Fe with regional and international markets, through the upgrading of NR19. Additionally to the project provided institutional support to the Province in several areas including strategic planning, road safety, logistics, and overall social and environmental management.


In 2006, the Province of Santa Fe accounted for 42% of Argentina’s total agro industrial exports, which constituted one of the key drivers of Argentina’s economic recovery after the 2001-2002 economic crises. The Province of Santa Fe is strategically located in the center region of the country, at the heart of many of the major transport arteries connecting with key regional partners such as Chile and Brazil. National Road 19, specifically, constitutes part of a bi-oceanic integration corridor linking the economies of Mercosur with Chile, being one of the key axes of integration identified by IIRSA. Traffic levels on NR19 increased by 40% between 2003 and 2006, as a result of the booming economic growth and increased agricultural exports; however, limited capacity of this strategic corridor imposed a clear infrastructure bottleneck to growing transportation flows.


The Project financed the upgrading of 130 km. of NR19, between the town of Santo Tomé in the Province of Santa Fe and the border of the Province of Cordoba, from a two-lane to a four-lane highway with separate two lane carriageways in each traffic direction to expand the capacity and road safety of this heavily traveled corridor. Additionally, the Project provided institutional support to the Province of Santa Fe to: (i) pilot road safety interventions in strategic locations; (ii) identify transport infrastructure and trade facilitation constraints by setting up a system to measure logistics costs; (iii) reinforce the Province’s strategic and territorial planning capacity; (iv) strengthen the provincial capacity to assess and manage environmental and social impacts of large civil works; and (v) create provincial capacity to monitor and evaluate large infrastructure projects.



NR19 was successfully upgraded, with 132 kilometers being open to traffic, and with works being completed in time and form, with no over cost, or extension to the Project’s closing date.
Specific results attained include:

  • In all road segments analyzed on NR 19, reductions in travel times exceeded the 5% target, ranging from 8% to 23% reductions;
  • From 2007-2012, road linked fatalities on NR19 decreased by 73.3%, while the Province as a whole revealed a 13.6% increase in fatalities;
  • Soft and hard road safety interventions were implemented in pilot areas (PR21), including provision of equipment to the Provincial Road Safety Agency, elaboration of a monitoring and evaluation manual, trainings, signaling, construction of bus bays, defenses in dangerous curves, roundabouts in a black spots, pedestrian bridges, bike paths, and installation of speed reducers, traffic lights, and illumination.
  • Elaboration of a plan for the optimization of freight logistics in the Province of Santa Fe;
  • Design of a Provincial Logistics Observatory;
  • Elaboration of guidelines for the territorial, urban and environmental planning of Villa Ocampo, to be replicated in other Provincial locations;
  • Equipment of DPV’s environmental unit and training of its staff; and
  • Elaboration of a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Province.

Bank Group Contribution

The Bank provided a US$126.7 million loan, with an associated US$46.4 million counterpart financing. Original distribution among components included: (i) upgrading of NR 19 (US$167.7 million, of which US$123.9 were Bank financed); and (ii) institutional strengthening (US$2.8 million, all Bank financed).


There were no partners involved in Project preparation or implementation.

Moving Forward

Although no on-lending operation is envisaged, the continuation of works on NR19 until the provincial capital of Cordoba is included and prioritized within the National Roads Agency’s (DNV) investment plans.


The Province of Santa Fe and the broader Center Region of the country were the direct beneficiaries of this operation, a region accounting for 20% of Argentine population, 40% of total agricultural and livestock activity and 25% of Argentina’s GDP. Given that NR19 is a strategic component of a bi-oceanic corridor, benefits were not only restricted to the Province of Santa Fe and the Central Region of Argentina, also having repercussions on key commercial partners, primarily Brazil and Chile, expected to benefit from improved transport conditions on this trade corridor.

decrease in road linked fatalities on NR19