Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mexico's Bridges: Viaduct Beltran (2)

Another view of Viaduct Beltran. There's a parking lot along Route 54D with a path and a viewing platform under the bridge.

Note how the superstructure rests on two short piers near the middle of the bridge. The haunched girders must have been carefully shaped to ensure the superstructure is balanced on these two central piers. I imagine that the bridge was constructed by cantilevering outward in both directions from this fulcrum.

Also note the key at the top of the piers, which was meant to provide transverse stability to the superstructure. It seems more likely that the tiny key would break, or that the superstructure would topple. However, the fact that the bridge has survived several earthquakes suggests that these keys are effective at preventing transverse movement.
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Mexico's Bridges: Viaduct Beltran (2) by Mark Yashinsky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, I don't have the dimensions of the bridge. But you're right. It has been built as a balanced cantilever with post-tensioining. However, the short piers were only fixed to the superstructure during construction with highstrength post-tensioning rods. It has been detached afterwards, to allow for temperature movements and to prevent large forces on the pier due to seimisc loads. Especially, the short piers are susceptible to those forces. The tall ones are flexible enough to dissipate energy and to allow movements.
    It is a quite typical configuration of balanced cantilever bridges in Mexico.