A consortium led by German construction giant Hochtief has won a €400-million ($524-million) contract to build and operate South America's longest bridge in Chile, Hochtief said Monday. The 2.6-kilometer bridge will link the mainland with Chile's biggest island, Chiloe, and will form part of the legendary Panamericana highway, Hochtief said in a statement. Work on the bridge, which will also include 16.4 kilometers in access roads, would begin in the second half of 2007. The bridge was scheduled to come into operation in 2012. The consortium, which is called Hochtief PPP Solutions and is 27-percent owned by Hochtief, will operate the bridge for a period of 30 years, the statement added.