Value for Society

Traces of history: discover two national monuments in our Rutas del Desierto Highway

This Chilean road harbors the saltpetre offices of Humberstone and Santa Laura, one of the main tourist references in the north of the country.

Sacyr Concesiones

The Atacama Desert, located in the region of Tarapacá, is the world’s most arid desert and a reflection of Chile's cultural heritage. Epicenter of our road project Rutas del Desierto Highway, its sites are home to two key national monuments in the country’s recent history: the saltpetre offices of Humberstone and Santa Laura. These are small towns from the 19th century built during the saltpeter industry expansion, one of the country’s most relevant economic activities between 1880 and 1930. 

For decades, these “white gold” offices, separated from each other by 1.5 kilometers, were the scene of important technological and entrepreneurial innovations, and formed a cultural and social amalgam with people from all around the world. In 2005, they were declared World Heritage Sites by Unesco

These national monuments, whose landscape and historical background presents an important touristic and anthropological value, are currently outdoor museums that can be accessed at the kilometer 0.900, in the Route 16. In this context, our P3 has played a crucial role: the development of the works has allowed to connect both saltpetre works by means of a 5-kilometer-long bypass. Moreover, and as part of the project, this enclave now also has two bus stops and a pedestrian walkway.

In Sacyr, we work to preserve and enhance sites of historical and tourist interest in the local communities.