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South America’s longest suspension bridge gets go ahead

chacao bridge

Plans for South America’s longest suspension bridge have been approved.

Chile’s Ministry of Public Works has approved the design for the 2.75km long Chacao Bridge, paving the way for construction to begin.

The bridge, which will connect mainland Chile with the Island of Chiloé for the first time. Construction has already started, with work on 11 of the 36 piles for the central pylon already having been completed.

Designed for a minimum 100 year lifespan, the bridge will have three reinforced concrete pylons, a suspended north span of 324m, two main spans of 1.1km and 1km as well as a south approach viaduct of 140m. The bridge deck will be 23.8m wide and carry four lanes of traffic.

The 175m tall central concrete tower will be built on a small reef in the middle of the Roca Remolinos channel.

A joint venture of Hyundai, OAS, Systra and Aas-Jakobsen is working on construction, while consultant Cowi is responsible for the supervision and design review of the bridge.

The project site is located in a challenging environment, 80km from a seismic fault zone. The zone encompassesValdivia, where the strongest recorded earthquake in history – 9.5 magnitude – struck in 1960 and where in 2010 an earthquake of 8.8 magnitude quake struck offshore near Concepcion. The Gulf of Ancud Fault also runs along the Chacao channel, directly under the bridge site.

“Designing a structure for such a challenging environment brings with it many complications and challenges, so it is extremely satisfying to receive official approval, knowing that all the hard work will soon materialise into a finished project,” said Cowi project manager Hisham Ibrahim.

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