Communities left devastated by the impacts of Hurricane Maria have given a welcome lifeline by the bridge specialists Mabey with the construction of the 58-metre Rio Grande bridge.
Installed in just 19 days, the bridge provides a vital link for families and farmers who had their lives destroyed by the worst natural disaster on record to hit Puerto Rico. It ensures the local community can once again access local amenities within five minutes, when they had been forced to travel for over an hour.
Due to the widespread impacts, there was an urgency to deliver a new bridge in under three months and by partnering with Viatek Corporation and Construcciones José Carro, S.E., Mabey created a much-needed new link in Arecibo for residents.
The 19-day timeframe to erect the bridge was a record according to the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division (EFLHD), which support the Puerto Rican government’s tireless efforts to reconnect communities as quickly and efficiently as possible following the disaster.
Commenting on the new bridge, EFHLD said: “Hurricane Maria caused catastrophic damage, resulting in numerous fatalities and devastating rural infrastructure. Electricity was cut, and many bridges collapsed, leaving communities totally inaccessible. This new bridge brings some normality back to the lives of local people, helping them to access fundamental services faster. It also allows local farmers to transport goods across the country, which is a critical part of a longer-term recovery.”
The faster connection allows the agricultural community, the backbone of the local economy, to continue trading. The UK engineering firm say the 58-metre Mabey Compact 200 (C200) was installed with emergency civilian ramps and integrated into a series of concrete abutments which remained following the hurricane.
It is the firm’s most widely used modular bridging product, with a heritage that stretches back over 70 years to the original Bailey Bridge system. It can also carry up to two lanes of traffic, with options for both external and internal footwalks.
Michael Treacy, chief executive of Mabey Bridge, added: “It is impossible to overstate the importance of bridges to reconnecting communities. In the wake of a natural disaster, there needs to be a rapid response to rebuild infrastructure, and we are proud to have developed and delivered a solution for residents in Arecibo within three months. The bridge itself was erected in just 19 days, helping this rural community to once again reach larger, urban areas.”