Brazil is currently working to complete a dramatic upgrade to the BR-319 Highway, an 870 kilometer-long road segment running between the city of Manaus in central Amazonia to Porto Velho in southern Amazonia.
Once completed, this road will link directly to the BR-174 Highway, which runs from Manaus to the northern border of Brazil.
Together, the two paved highways will slice the Amazon in half along a north-south axis.
Brazil has already completed a giant bridge, spanning 3.6 kilometers in length, that traverses the Rio Negro ("Black River") near Manaus. The bridge will help to connect the two highways together.
Not Enough Protection
Some protected or indigenous areas are in place along the BR-319 route but they are not nearly enough to staunch the impacts that will arise from cutting open the Amazon so profoundly to human activities.
In the past, paved highways in the Amazon have frequently opened a Pandora's box of human impacts, including large-scale deforestation, fires, illegal logging, wildlife poaching, illicit gold mining, and land speculation.