Works begin on Brazil’s US$1.8bn Salvador-Itaparica bridge
06 February 2024
Engineers have started test-drilling for the Salvador-Itaparica road bridge, which is to be constructed in Bahia state, Brazil. The bridge was agreed as a public-private partnership deal five years ago and is set to become Latin America’s second-longest, costing around US$1.8 billion.
The structure will stretch 12.4km, crossing the Bay of All Saints, connecting Salvador, the capital city of Bahia State, with the island of Itaparica, which already has fixed links to the mainland on its side of the bay.
A consortium consisting of China Communications Construction Company and China Railway 20 Bureau Group has been selected to build, operate, and maintain the bridge for 35 years.
However, the consortium was the only bidder for the project, and the final contract was signed in November 2020, after the pandemic delayed the start of construction and caused an increase in cost by around $500m.
According to a report from the Bahia State government, drilling on land will be completed by the end of February, followed by surveying in the bay. This will involve drilling from ships to collect seabed samples and will take the rest of the year. Work on the bridge itself will commence at the beginning of next year.
The cable-stayed bridge will be accompanied by approximately 34km of highways, two tunnels, and viaducts. Together, they will provide “a new vector of income distribution” and could benefit 10 million Bahians in 250 municipalities, the state said.
The scheme will also boost tourism by reducing journey times to popular destinations.