Ferrovial La ingeniería civil como arte: creatividad e innovación

Time Passing in the Ravine

Tenerife, Spain

Barranco de Erques Arch Viaduct View full project

Adeje and Guía de Isora are quite close and, at the same time, so far. Located at the foot of the immense Teide, the two towns are cut off from each other by an abyss that, for centuries, no bridge could span.

Now, an arch bridge high over the Erques ravine offers us an overview of Tenerife’s history. From its heights, we can see the 13 kilometers of a ravine home to plants that find footholds among the rocks, many symbols of the Canary Islands.

The construction works, carried out by Ferrovial Construction, consist of an arch bridge that spans a 110 m intermediate deck, which is suspended by hangers.

At the bottom of the ravine, the rocks take on a different color. Depending on the light and shadow, they may be dark, glowing, or reddish, the last of these hearkening back to their origins in the bowels of the earth. The green plants pop out against the basalt flows rising from the volcano’s ravines. Down below, time goes by slowly. The hustle and bustle of life is reserved for the beams and hangers supporting the viaduct over the Erques ravine.

Its lines are so simple and clean that it seems as if someone just left it there, perched over this scar in the ground. However, the engineering behind the 110-meter span arch bridge tells a more complicated story, one of double arches and tubes joined by diaphragms bonded together at each spring-steel suspension cable. This support structure weighs over 500 tons.

Suspended from the arched metal, the bridge’s deck has a grid of 92 metal girders. The reinforced concrete slabs that will ultimately bear the weight of vehicles traveling across rest on this grid.

When it was opened at the end of 2015, this bridge was the final piece in the island ring between Adeje and Santiago del Teide, which connects to the port of Fonsalía. Over 10,000 vehicles cross it every day, saving time and experiencing greater safety. Gone are the times when crossing ravines set the slow pace of travel.

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