Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mexico's Bridges: Puente Juarez

Returning to Colima, I took Route 56 southwest, back towards Manzanillo. I soon crossed the ubiquitous Rio Armeria (near the town of Coquimatlan) on the Puente Juarez, a seven span I-girder bridge on reinforced concrete pierwalls and odd, two-column abutments.

This bridge has a handsome plaque giving relevant bridge data. It is 251 m (824 ft) long with a 7.5 m (24.6 ft) wide traveled way and a 9.1 m (30 ft) wide deck. This is a very green, fertile area with many orchards. Note the tall palm trees at the other end of the bridge.

Unfortunately we've too often seen the end of the concrete barrier damaged from drivers smashing into it. Steel rails or crash cushions at the ends of bridges might save some lives.

I like the flared elements connecting the girder webs to the deck, which give the bridge a modern appearance. The Rio Armeria must have a tendency to flood. The plaque gives the volume of water that can pass under the bridge. The rounded ends to the pierwalls can deflect debris downstream instead of collecting against the bridge and possibly causing scour or bridge damage.
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