BARRANQUILLA, Colombia – The Colombian government opened this Friday to traffic in the Caribbean city of Barranquilla the 38-meter-wide (125-foot-wide) Pumarejo Bridge, built by Spain’s Sacyr company – the widest of its kind, in fact, in all of Latin America.
It is also one of the longest suspension bridges in Colombia with a length of 2,173 meters, and crosses the Magdalena River, the country’s main waterway, near its estuary
“Works of infrastructure like the Pumarejo Bridge show how important Colombia is to Sacyr,” the company’s engineering and infrastructure adviser, Pedro Siguenza, told Efe at the inauguration, to which he accompanied Colombian President Ivan Duque.
Siguenza noted that Sacyr has great confidence in this country’s economy and that “the company will be in Colombia for at least the next 25 years, because it is in the midst of developing projects for the short, medium and long term.”
The construction of Pumarejo Bridge began on May 19, 2015, and during the process some 33,000 tons of reinforced steel and 24,212 cubic meters (855,000 cubic feet) of concrete were used with an investment of some 800 billion pesos (some $240.5 million).
Colombia’s Esgamo Construction Engineering also took part in the work.
“A country’s impressive structures are not the product of vanity – they occur because of government policies, because they set dreams in motion and because there are administrations whose vocation is to think in terms of progress,” President Duque said at the inauguration.
The head of state said that since he took office last Aug. 7, his administration has allocated 140 billion pesos (some $42 million) for this project, the “most important work of connectivity to be seen on the Caribbean coast.”
Together with Duque and Siguenza at the bridge’s opening were Colombian Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez, Transport Minister Angela Maria Orozco, and the governors of Atlantico and Magdalena provinces, Eduardo Verano de la Rosa and Rosa Cotes, respectively, together with Barranquilla Mayor Alejandro Char.
After more than four years under construction, the bridge will connect the provinces of Atlantico and Magdalena with six traffic lanes, three on each side, a work that Duque described as “a great industrial pole.”
The Pumarejo will have on its dividing strip the two soaring suspension-bridge supports 133 meters tall that stand 380 meters apart.
In addition, it will have sidewalks for pedestrians and cycling lanes on either side, features with which it seeks to improve connections between the Caribbean and the interior of the country.
Pumarejo Bridge will also aid the shipping of goods and the transport of passengers up and down the Magdalena River, since its high altitude allows very large ships to sail underneath it to the interior of the country and back.
After the inauguration ceremony held halfway across the bridge, Duque drove a vehicle over the new construction and thanked former Vice President German Vargas Lleras, who was also present, since it was during his term in office that the bridge was begun.
The traditional Baranoa Band, made up of children and teenagers, was also on hand to add music to the inauguration, as it usually does during official events in Barranquilla.
This construction will replace a smaller bridge built in 1974 and whose name, the Alberto Pumarejo, was used as a tribute to the Barranquilla leader who promoted its construction, though its official name is the Laureano Gomez, in honor of that conservative president.