One of Brazil's major problems of economic development is its transportation system. But the country?
One of Brazil's major problems of economic development is its transportation system. But the country may be on the brink of an economic boom when a two-thousand-mile long highway linking the Atlantic coast to the Peruvian border is completed.
The vastness of the Amazon jungle -- half as large as the United States -- is virtually uninhabited, less than one parson per square kilometre. But with the opening of the Trans-Amazon road, many areas will become relatively accessible to even the most amateurish of explorers.
The world's mining companies are also focusing a great deal of attention on the new highway. They have already measured significant findings of diamonds, gold, copper, tin and manganese. At least one United States steel company is working with the Brazilian Government to complete a survey of what may well prove to be the world's largest find in iron ore.
The highway is being built by engineer troops and civilian employees. Their working conditions are primitive; they face some of the most difficult weather in the world and disease-bearing insects have resulted in many malaria cases in the construction camps. Contrary to popular belief, the Amazon jungle is not flat. The engineers have to cope with rolling hills and even small mountains as the road pushes towards the Peruvian border. Rafts and ferries used int he construction period will have to be replaced by bridges and so far no one can say how many have been built or how many remain to be built over the numerous streams which criss-cross the route.