The World Bank has agreed to lend Peru $120 million USD for overhauling the transport system in the historic Inca city of Cusco. A UNESCO heritage site, Cusco is visited by millions of tourists from around the world every year.
The $150 million USD project, known locally as METRA, is designed to improve accessibility in the city with the expansion of the Via Expresa Avenue, while strengthening Cusco’s urban transportation planning capacities, according to Cusco Regional President Rene Concha.
“Improvements will directly benefit the most vulnerable residents of the city’s eastern sector, which covers the districts of Wanchaq, San Sebastian and San Jeronimo, home to close to 166,000 inhabitants,” stated the World Bank in a press release.
Within the metropolitan area, the construction of 6.4 km of new roads will improve accessibility and transportation options throughout the city, thus promoting the economic integration of peripheral communities. Once completed, the transport system will dramatically reduce accidents on highways and adjacent streets, analysts say.
Construction of bus stop seating, well-illuminated paths and safe crossings are also part of the project. The World Bank says the new transport system will promote the use of bicycles in the historical city, located 3,300 meters above sea level.
Home to about 400,000 residents, Cusco harbors several monuments of great historical importance. Because of this, tourism is one of its main economic activities, with a significant impact on land use in the city due to the space required by hotels, restaurants, commercial space and transportation services.
“Looking to the long term, along with improved mobility, the construction of the Via Expresa Avenue will have a structural impact on the City of Cusco by reducing pressure on the Historical Center,” the World Bank stated.