Chile constructing quake-proof Chacao Bridge

SANTIAGO – Planning work for Chile’s Chacao Bridge project is underway at present.

The new suspension bridge will provide a link to Chiloe Island and will be the longest structure of its type in Latin America when complete.

Because of the risk of major earthquakes in the area, the bridge has to be constructed to cope with substantial shocks.

The project is being handled by the Consorcio Puente Chacao consortium and has been in the design phase since February 2014.

Chile’s Ministry for Public Works wants to ensure that the design of the project is carried out properly, even if this takes more time.

A key focus is that there should no repeat of the problems seen with the Cau Cau Bridge, which does not function properly due to serious errors made during its design and construction.

Chacao Channel bridge

The Chacao Channel bridge is a planned road connection to link the Island of Chiloé with mainland Chile by crossing the Chacao Channel. At present, the only way to reach Chiloé is by a 25 to 45-minute ferry trip. With the bridge, the time would be reduced to less than three minutes.

The project consists of a 2.6km long double suspension bridge with two main spans of 1050m and 1180m, an orthotropic box girder deck, four lanes, one central and two exterior shoulders and a central (A-shape) tower on Roca Remolinos, a point where the rock reaches the surface offering a point of support for the central pillar.

Although its construction was scheduled to start in 2007 the project was cancelled and then re-launched in 2012 when the Chilean government decided to issue an international tender for the re-design and construction of the bridge.