A Country Divided
Brazil is the largest country in South America in land mass and the fifth largest on Earth with a population of 190 million. Brazil has the seventh largest GDP and is, by most accounts, the fastest growing economy. Rich in natural and human resources, this massive land is divided by a complicated system of rivers with the Amazon at its heart, separating its territory into five distinctive regions. Travel in Brazil by anything other than air is difficult, if not nearly impossible, because of its massive river system which divides the country like great walls of water.
The Rio Negro bridge will connect the only urban center in the region, Manaus, across the Rio Negro to the city of Iranduba, which serves as the gateway to the interior of the Amazon, one of the most remote and untouched regions of the world.
Making that connection is costly. Originally projected at $570 million reals (or $359 million USD/Euro 290 million), the government decided to maximize competition for construction by breaking down the bids into stages of construction.
Every stage of the project was separately contracted by the government including primary surveying, pillar construction and insertion, spanning of the pillars with roadway, marine engineering, lighting, and nautical signaling.
The benefit of this plan, of course, is that government funds would be spread more broadly through smaller companies, none of which could take on the entire project alone. The downside, however, is that exact costs could not be predicted over the multi-year project, and particularly in a region where little massive construction had been attempted before.