The Coatzacoalcos I Bridge lies south-east of the city of Coatzacoalcos on federal highway 180 between Matamoros and Puerto Juárez, in the State of Veracruz, Mexico. Opened in 1962, this road and railway lift bridge required considerable repair and reinforcement work, which was carried out in several stages between September 2011 and October 2014.
The structure crosses the Coatzacoalcos river estuary and is a strategic traffic link. The city of Coatzacoalcos is home to what is considered to be the third most important commercial and industrial port in the Gulf of Mexico. The bridge is a total of 995 metres long, with isostatic spans made up of prefabricated prestressed concrete beams and a cover slab, and carries high levels of mixed road and railway traffic.
The significant humidity and salinity and very high pollution levels in the region were putting the steel reinforcements used in the structure at risk of spalling, corrosion and cracking. Major works were necessary to strengthen and protect the bridge.
The first step involved reinforcing the central piers, compensating for the slope and transferring the load. The neoprene bearings and expansion joints were replaced, the structure was waterproofed and the most damaged areas were repaired with carbon fibre fabric Foreva® TFC.
A few months later, it was the turn of the metal spans. The cylinders were given a protective coating, shear strength was increased using carbon fibre, external prestressing was installed on certain sections and a corrosion inhibitor was applied.
Next, the lift span was given a make-over, including a complete structural overhaul and rehabilitation of the lift system.
The lift towers were reinforced and the existing frame of the lift span was dismantled.
The new frame has just been installed and the bridge will be back in service very soon.