China's HKND has revealed the final blueprint for a project it describes as the "the biggest built in the history of humanity."
The developers of the $40 billion Nicaraguan canal have revealed the route that it will traverse through the Central American nation to create a new water lane between the Pacific Ocean and the Carribbean Sea.
Hong Kong-based HKND, which is owned by Chinese tycoon Wang Jing, announced that the canal will run for 278 kilometres through Nicaraguan territory, starting from the mouth of the river Brito on the Pacific Ocean, before turning south to pass through the city of Rivas and enter Lake Nicaragua.
The canal will then extend for 105 kilometres through Lake Nicaragua and pass through the Tule and Punta Gordas rivers, before entering the southern Caribbean Sea at Bluefields Bay.
According to HKND chief engineer Junsong Dong, the route is one of six potential paths for the mega canal which the company considered.
Wang believes the canal will be one of the great construction feats of human history.
“This project is going to be the biggest built in the history of humanity,” Wang said to students at the Mangua University of Engineering. “It will be an enormous help to the Nicaraguan people and for the world in general, because world trade require it, we are sure of this.”
The Nicaraguan government hopes the exorbitant cost and scale of the project will be justified by the huge boost it will give to the economic prospects of the nation. It will provide an alternative shipping route to the Panama Canal between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
The total project is an ambitious swathe of infrastructure developments comprised of six key sub-projects. These include the building of the channel itself, the construction of two deep-water ports, the establishment of a free-trade area, an airport in the city of Rivas and tourism projects in San Lorenzo.
HKND officials have touted the economic and employment benefits of the project, which will provide jobs to around 50,000 people and have indirect positive effects on the livelihoods of a further 200,000.
The project has not been without controversy, however, triggering strong opposition from environmental experts on the grounds of its impact on Lake Nicaragua’s ecosystem, as well as the ecosystems of the other waterways within the vicinity of the canal. Critics have also charged that the project is not economically justifiable given its staggering cost.
Work on the project is slated to commence in December 2014 and take five years to complete.