Mauritius starts construction of $557 million light rail system

PORT LOUIS (Reuters) - Mauritius on Thursday began building an 18.8 billion rupees ($560 million) light rail system which is expected to help cut traffic jams and the cost of doing business on the Indian Ocean island.

The 26-km (16-mile) route will connect Curepipe, a town in central Mauritius, to the capital Port Louis. It is expected to have 19 stations and four interchanges.

The first stage connecting Port Louis and Rose Hill is expected to be completed by September 2019, officials have said.

At a ceremony to mark the start of construction, Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth said traffic delays were costing the country an equivalent of 4 billion rupees annually.

The line will be built by Indian firm Larsen and Toubro and funded by an Indian government grant of 10 billion rupees and a line of credit.

Reporting by Jean Paul Arouff; Editing by Elias Biryabarema