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By replacing the existing car ferries, the new Chacao Channel Bridge will boost the future development of the sparsely populated region in Southern Chile. COWI North America will review the design and supervise the construction of the bridge in the geotechnically harsh environment.
Situated in the pacific ring of fire, the Chacao channel area in Southern Chile is one of the most seismically exposed areas in world. The combination of seismic hazards, including earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic activity, as well as the high wind speeds and strong tidal currents make the Chacao Channel a challenging environment.
By grasping the challenging conditions, COWI has been awarded the client consultancy contract for the iconic Chacao Channel Bridge project, which will connect the island of Chiloé with the mainland of Chile.
The completion of the bridge is expected to bring jobs to the area as well as help develop the economy of the island. By connecting Chiloé with the mainland, commuters can now reduce their travelling time by up to 35 minutes, making it more attractive to build offices in the area. Additionally, it will be easier to transport goods to the island, creating a more sustainable living environment for the people of Chiloé.
"The scope of the project is very large," says Steve Hunt, President and CEO of COWI in North America. "This will be the longest suspension bridge in South America once it is constructed, and it will take approximately six years to complete."
COWI has collaborated with the Chilean Ministry of Public Transport on the project during several phases since 2000, and previous projects included feasibility study and scheme design, preparation of design basis and preparation of tender documents.
The bridge will be a two-main-span continuous suspension bridge measuring 2,635 metres in length. Its key feature will be an inverted Y-shaped central pylon situated on the submerged rock Roca Remolino. The geology of the rock combined with the strong currents is another challenge to project.
"COWI is experienced with designing major bridges in highly seismic areas. Our past project examples include the Izmit Bay Bridge in Turkey, the Messina Bridge in Italy, the San Rafael-Richmond Bridge and the Cooper River Bridge in the US, and the Puente Nigale Bridge in Venezuela," states Sam Yao, Vice President, Marine Structures and Offshore Wind.
By Karen ØksnebjergPublished 22.09.2014
Lars JensenProject Director, Major BridgesTel: +45 5640 firstname.lastname@example.org
Risk management and analysis
Marine, coastal and geotechnical engineering
The Izmit Bay Bridge, Turkey
The Messina Strait Bridge, Italy