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Piling work underway on South America’s longest suspension bridge

central bored pile 1st group 1 mop chile

Piling work underway on South America’s longest suspension bridge

Foundation work for a new bridge to link the mainland of Chile with the Island of Chiloé for the first time and create South America’s longest suspension bridge has got underway.

Cowi, which is undertaking design review and construction supervision of the project, confirmed progress on the scheme as it achieved approval of the definitive design from the Ministry of Public Works in Chile.

The bridge is being built by Consortium Puente Chacao, which is formed by Hyundai, OAS, Systra and Aas-Jakobsen.

The suspension bridge will measure 2,754m between anchor blocks and create a dual carriageway link to replace a ferry service to reduce travel times from 45 minutes to just three. The bridge is formed of three reinforced concrete pylons, a suspended north span of 324m, two main spans of 1,155m and 1,055m and a south approach viaduct of 140m.

central bored pile 1st group 2 mop chile

central bored pile 1st group 2 mop chile

The first 11 piles have been completed on what will be South America’s longest suspension bridge

The central tower will be built on the Roca Remolinos reef in the centre of the channel and will be supported by 36 piles. Cowi has confirmed that 11 have been completed so far.

According to Cowi, design of the foundations for the bridge has been challenging. The project site is 1,100km south of Santiago and 80km from the seismic fault zone and encompasses the area where the strongest recorded earthquake (9.5 magnitude) struck Valdivia in 1960 and where in 2010, an earthquake of 8.8 magnitude struck offshore near Concepcion. The Gulf of Ancud Fault (FGA) also runs along the Chacao channel, directly under the bridge site.

Cowi has said that combining these hazards with high wind speeds of over 200km/h and strong tidal currents of 18km/h makes this location one of the most challenging bridge sites in the world.

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