Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Peru's Bridges: Puente Freyne (1)

Traveling south from Arequipa, we occasionally would cross a green river valley in the otherwise incredibly dry Sechura Desert. Traveling on the Pan-American Highway we crossed Rio Tamba, Rio Moquegua (across Puente Montalvo), Rio Locumbo, and Rio Sama before arriving at Tacna, a border town with a huge public market selling bootleg CDs and DVDs (along with legitimate goods).

Typically, Peruvian bridges are elegant structures. However, Puente Freyne across Rio Tamba (on coastal highway 15A) looks like an old dinosaur with new legs.

Probably the highway department bought an old railroad bridge, moved it to the site, and jacked it onto new reinforced concrete piers. The three span truss superstructure (perhaps six meters deep) looks too big for highway vehicles and for the short, modern piers.

Perhaps that's the reason the bent cap suffered shear damage and one of the bearings fell over during the 2003 Atico, Peru earthquake. The bridge was closed when we got to the site while the crew went about repairing the pier and jacking the truss superstructure back in place.
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