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Upgrade for Ruta 40

Upgrade for Ruta 40

Work has started on a dramatic upgrade of Argentina's iconic National Route 40 (the RN40 or Ruta 40) which connects Mendoza's El Plumerillo International Airport to the world-famous wineries of Mendoza province. This winter (that's June, July and August here in Argentina) didn't bring much snow and teams of road engineers were working round the clock at the Zapata intersection from Mendoza to Tunuyan, the nearest town to Valle de Uco, Golf, Wine & Country. And when work is completed at the end of 2010, drive time to Mendoza's wine route will be almost halved from 1 hour and a quarter to a mere 40 minutes.

Ruta 40 stretches 5224 km from La Quiaca in Jujuy on the northern border of Argentina to Rio Gallegos in Santa Cruz at its southern-most tip. Starting at sea level, it snakes along the foothills of the epic Andes mountain range, crossing 20 national parks, 18 major rivers and 27 mountain passes - a drive not to be missed by any visitor to Argentina.

Since the beginning of its construction back in 1935, this legendary road has had many incarnations. Until 2004 it consisted of Ruta 40 Sur and Ruta 40 Norte and the intersection of the two was between San Martin and Garibaldi streets in the city of Mendoza. When it became one route (and one of the longest in the world), the government of Argentina started to upgrade Ruta 40 to super-highway status. By adding sections of other highways and paving, it will help promote national tourism including the ancient cave art at Cueva de las Manos and Los Glaciares National Park as well as the world-famous wineries of Mendoza.

A shorter drive from the airport to Valle de Uco, Golf, Wine and Country will mean more down-time to enjoy horse-riding, wine-tasting, golf, nature treks or simply relaxing in the sun. And when the next stage of work on Ruta 40 to San Rafael in Mendoza province is completed, a daytrip of white-water rafting on the Atuel river will be added to the project's long list of attractions.

Added on 7 September

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