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."