Tec­no­com of Progress Group Sup­plies Mould Sys­tem for the Long­est Road Bridge in Colom­bia

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At the end of last year, the first sod was cut for the re­con­struc­tion of the road link between the cities of Carta­gena and Bar­ran­quilla in north­ern Colom­bia. This ma­jor project, which has been ac­claimed by lead­ing politi­cians in Colom­bia as an im­por­tant corner stone for the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the Caribbean coast­line of Colom­bia, will sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the trav­el­ling time between the two cities, while also im­prov­ing the connections between Colom­bia's two most im­por­tant ports. Tec­no­com, a com­pany in the Progress Group, which spe­cial­izes in moulds for spe­cial con­crete el­e­ments, placed the suc­cess­ful bid for sup­ply­ing a mould sys­tem for bridge el­e­ments. This mould is cur­rently be­ing used to pro­duce the V gird­ers for the long­est bridge in the ma­jor project.

The fig­ures con­cern­ing the "Proyecto Carta­gena-Bar­ran­quilla y cir­cun­valar de la Pros­peri­dad" are im­pres­sive. The new road link on the Caribbean coast in north­ern Colom­bia is 146 km long, half of it is de­signed with two dual car­riage­ways and bridges span coastal la­goons and rivers. A to­tal in­vest­ment of 1.3 bil­lion dol­lars has been com­mit­ted, in or­der to con­struct a link meet­ing in­ter­na­tional stan­dards between the two mega cities of Carta­gena and Bar­ran­quilla. The project forms part of an ini­tia­tive from the Colom­bian Min­istry for Trans­port and Na­tional Agency for In­fra­struc­ture. This ini­tia­tive includes projects to un­lock all the im­por­tant cen­tres in the coun­try by pro­vid­ing them with wellengi­neered traf­fic connections. The aim is to in­crease Colom­bia's abil­ity to com­pete.

The long­est road bridge in Colom­bia

The bridge over the Carta­gena coastal la­goon forms an im­por­tant cor­ner­stone of the new road link between Carta­gena and Bar­ran­quilla. De­signed as a fourlane high­way, the via­ducto Gran Manglar is in­tended to span the swampy ter­ri­tory to the north of the city and its 5.4 km length makes it the long­est road bridge in Colom­bia. The gen­eral con­trac­tor, Riz­zani De Ec­cher from north­ern Italy was awarded the con­tract to con­struct the bridge. This com­pany, which works in the field of res­i­den­tial and in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, and which spe­cial­izes, amongst other things, in the plan­ning and con­struc­tion of bridges, awarded Tec­no­com the con­tract for con­struct­ing, pro­duc­ing and as­sem­bling a mould for the man­u­fac­ture of the V gird­ers re­quired.

A 40 me­tre mould for 85 t V gird­ers

The mould was shipped to Colom­bia at the end of last year. In Fe­bru­ary 2016, the 40 m long sys­tem was ac­cepted. It was in­stalled in the vicin­ity of the con­struc­tion site and

since then has been pro­duc­ing 31, 32, and 37 m long pre-stressed V gird­ers, weigh­ing upto 85 t. On com­ple­tion, the el­e­ments are loaded by two gantry cranes on to spe­cial HGVs and trans­ported to their site of de­ploy­ment. There, they are as­sem­bled and the up­per slab is con­creted over in prepa­ra­tion for the planned car­riage­way.

In or­der to make it pos­si­ble to man­u­fac­ture three dif­fer­ent lengths, the mould has been equipped with ad­justable stop-ends. The mould also has a self-stress­ing sys­tem with a pre­loaded stress of 1,150 tons. Thanks to this sys­tem, it can be used in­de­pen­dently of lo­ca­tion. When the project is com­pleted, the mould can be trans­ported with­out dif­fi­culty and with all the an­cil­lary equip­ment to other con­struc­tion sites. The mould is also fit­ted with a vi­bra­tion and heat­ing sys­tem. All 387 gird­ers re­quired to con­struct the bridge are sched­uled to be man­u­fac­tured by the end of Oc­to­ber.

Tec­no­com, which spe­cialises in mould sys­tems for the pre­cast con­crete in­dus­try, has decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in the con­struc­tion and man­u­fac­ture of moulds for bridge el­e­ments. All the pro­cesses from plan­ning to assem­bly on site are de­signed and im­ple­mented by in-house spe­cial­ists. Sim­i­lar projects have been un­der­taken in the past in Italy, Por­tu­gal, Spain, Greece, and Qatar.

The 40 m mould was in­stalled in the vicin­ity of the con­struc­tion site. It can be used in­de­pen­dently of lo­ca­tion, since it has a self-stress­ing sys­tem.

Two gantry cranes load a to­tal of 387 con­crete el­e­ments on to spe­cial HGVs, which trans­port them to the con­struc­tion site.

A vi­bra­tion and heat­ing sys­tem en­sures steady com­paction and cur­ing of the con­crete used. V gird­ers in three dif­fer­ent lengths, weigh­ing up to 85 t, were pro­duced for the "via­ducto Gran Manglar", the long­est road bridge in Colom­bia.

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