At 1,321 feet high and 3,687 feet long, Mexico’s recently completed Baluarte Bridge is now the tallest bridge in the world. Spanning a ravine in the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains (also known as the Devil’s Backbone) in north Mexico, it is high enough to fit the Eiffel Tower underneath it. This week the country celebrated its inauguration ceremony, which coincided with the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain. However the bridge isn’t just a record breaker – it is also helping to remove communities from the isolation while reducing the country’s emissions by connecting the country more efficiently.
The Baluarte Bridge is part of the Mexican government’s pledge to improve its national infrastructure. It will form part of the new Durango-Mazatlán Highway when it is open to the public, and it will reduce journeys between the two cities by almost six hours. Considering the amount of haulage and commercial transport that goes between the two, the bridge is set make a significant difference in traffic emissions as well as journey time. In order to make transport in the region more efficient, the government is also planning eight other bridges that will be higher than 300 meters, as well as over 60 tunnels.
By providing a transversal link between the Pacific and the Atlantic, the bridge will also allow greater access to towns and cities in nine Mexican states including Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Jalisco, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas. The Baluarte Bridge cost over 2 billion pesos (approximately $145 million) and it is supported by 152 steel suspenders. With a central span of 520 meters, drivers in the four lanes of traffic will be driving above the clouds – higher than the infamous Millau Viaduct in France.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, President Calderon said: “This project will unite the people of northern Mexico as never before.” He also received an official notification of the bridge’s record-breaking height from Guinness.
Via BBC News