Modular Bridge Restores Vital Link in Puerto Rico


Puerto Rico’s infrastructure is still extensively damaged six months after Hurricane Maria made landfall, but a new $4.7 million bridge spanning the Manati River will make for easier accessibility and reconnect communities.

According to the Engineering News-Record, 30 employees at engineering and contracting firm Del Valle Group are working to replace the reinforced concrete bridge that was swept away by the river during the hurricane.

Restoring the Link

The new bridge is being constructed to withstand floodwaters, 1 foot above the river’s 200-year-flood level, using materials found on hand, noted Del Valle President Humberto Reynolds. The production of aggregate and asphalt was limited due to the lack of power after the storm.

Even though the span is considered a temporary measure by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the structure is built to last: an 8-meter-wide (26 feet), three-span modular steel bridge, it was manufactured in Ohio by U.S. Bridge. The span was shipped to the site in 17 containers, and assembled over top 40-foot-deep drilled shaft foundations using two cranes. Each of the trusses were aligned with the help of digital surveying.

According to the Engineering News-Record, Del Valle changed the original foundation design to help speed construction. The bridge opened in early April.

Liberty Series Bridges

According to U.S. Bridge, the company is working to deploy four bridges in total in other affected areas in Puerto Rico, including Juana Diaz; Utuado; Moca; and San Lorenzo, Morovis—where the three-span modular bridge was recently completed.

The Liberty Series bridges are composed of easy-to-transport prefabricated modules. The Liberty design is can be use for a permanent or emergency installation.

Infrastructure Repairs

As CNN reported Sept. 29, bridges like the concrete span in the town of San Lorenzo collapsed in the flooding associated with the hurricane. In remote towns in mountainous parts of the island, the loss of a river bridge can cut residents off from crucial supplies like food and water; citizens were faced with a choice to either drive many miles on mountain roads, or find a way to ford the river.

In October, the Federal Highway Administration made $40 million available immediately via a “quick release” to help fund rebuilding efforts.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Disasters; Health and safety; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Prefabrication; Program/Project Management

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.