Arenales Suspension Bridge
Arenales, Nicaragua
Award of Merit

Owner Municipality of Condega
Design-Builder Bridges to Prosperity
Corporate Partners Kiewit, KPFF

The Arenales Suspension Bridge in northwest Nicaragua now provides safe access to critical resources for a community that had been cut off from schools, markets, jobs and health care by the Esteli River, which floods for more than three months a year, making a simple walk to work or school life-threatening. At almost 130 meters, the pedestrian bridge is the longest ever built by the nonprofit Bridges to Prosperity, which works to alleviate poverty caused by rural isolation.

Alan Kreisa, B2P’s director of engineering, says the total length, an incremental increase over the previous record, required attention to properly locate the wind guy anchors. “Because the topography differed upstream and downstream on both sides of the river, including a tributary inlet, it was difficult to locate suitable anchor locations that would maintain a symmetric wind guy profile.”

Construction challenges included building over an earlier, failed crossing that had turned into a thoroughfare for residents; it had to be rerouted multiple times during work to maintain access. Also, because the anchor-reinforcing cages weighed nearly a ton, they had to be moved using a customized cable-and-pulley system.

The project brought together a diverse team from five countries, including corporate partner volunteers from Kiewit and KPFF. What made it memorable? “The relationships that were built and the great people of Arenales,” says Keith Boulton, Kiewit superintendent.  

Related Article: Global Best Projects Awards 2017