An Island Argues Over A Bridge...Which Business Says It Badly Needs

Crossing the Chacao Channel to the southern Chilean island of Chiloe is a tourist's delight. Crystal blue water contrasts with snow-capped volcanoes on the mainland. As the island nears, emerald forests and rolling farmlands beckon. But island resident Carlos Kramm sits in the cabin of his refrigerated truck, quietly fuming. This is no pleasure trip. The 40 minutes he spends idle in the hold of a ferry only adds to the four-hour ride ahead to his home in Quellon, Chiloe's southernmost town. The manager of an ice plant on the island, Kramm eagerly awaits the long-promised construction of a 2.5 kilometer bridge--to cost $300 million, financed by private investors who will collect tolls--that will connect Chiloe with the mainland by 2006.

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