The Ministry of Public Works in Chile has approved the Definitive Design of what will be South America's Longest Suspension Bridge.
The new bridge will form an integral part of Chilean infrastructure, connecting the mainland with the Island of Chiloé for the first time.
Replacing the current car ferry service with a dual carriageway fixed link will reduce travel time from 45 minutes to under 3 minutes, thereby improving the quality of life, business and tourism on the Island of Chiloe and the port city of Puerto Montt.
The bridge is also expected to be a catalyst for future large-scale development in this sparsely populated region in Southern Chile.
Find out more about this project by watching this video.
COWI is responsible for the supervision and design review of the bridge. Located in the Los Lagos region, the project site is 1,100km south of Santiago and 80km from the seismic fault zone. This 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.
Combining these hazards with high wind speeds of over 200km/h and strong tidal currents of 18km/h, and this location becomes one of the most challenging bridge sites in the world.
"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," says Hisham Ibrahim, Project Manager, COWI.
"I'd like to thank the whole team for their hard work and patience during what has been a long and difficult design process, and congratulate them on reaching this milestone."
Upon completion, the Chacao Bridge will be the longest suspension bridge in South America with a total length of 2,754m between anchor blocks.
Designed for a minimum 100-year lifespan, the bridge will consist 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. The bridge deck will be 23.8m wide and carry 4 lanes of traffic.
The 175m high central concrete tower will be built on Roca Remolinos - a small reef in the middle of the channel. Construction of the bridge is underway with 11 of the 36 piles for the central pylon already completed.
Ministry of Public Works in Chile (Ministerio de Obras Públicas)
Consortium Puente Chacao (CPC), consisting of Hyundai, OAS, Systra and Aas-Jakobsen
VP, Technical Director
Operations, North, United States