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Sun July 03 2022

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Longest bridge in the Philippines opens

29 Apr The president of the Philippines has officially opened the 8.5km-long Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEx), the country’s longest and tallest bridge.

photo supplied by Cowi
photo supplied by Cowi

The expressway links Cebu, the second-largest city in the Philippines, with Cordova on Mactan Island. More than 40,000 vehicles are expected to use road daily, cutting the travel time between Mactan and Cebu International Airport by 40 minutes, and relieving congestion on the existing inter-island crossings.

Challenges in designing the cable-stayed bridge several challenges including ensuring it can withstand winds of up to 250km/h as the area is heavily impacted by typhoons. Its superstructure was tested in a wind tunnel to study the structural response of the deck during strong winds and to streamline the shape of the box girder accordingly.

From a construction point of view, demanding challenges including building the pier tables of the cable-stayed bridge and the erection of 100t heavy post-tensioned precast concrete girders for the approach viaducts, said Cowi’s design manager for the project, Clemente Caruso. “To lift and install these structural components, we used a 120m-long launching gantry, which operated at 50m above the existing coastal road, and was remotely controlled from the ground, while supported on the tall piers of the viaducts,” he said. “An impressive manoeuvre that required us to tread carefully.”

photo supplied by Cowi
photo supplied by Cowi

On December 16 2021, Cebu Island was hit by a devastating category-five typhoon named ‘Odette’ with maximum recorded three-seconds gusts speed of about 240km/h, including Cebu City and the area of CCLEC project. Luckily, the bridge did not suffer any damage, while widespread destruction affected the city and the island.

Robert Uthwatt, leading project manager on CCLEx, said: “A project like this requires a skilled team with strong passion and commitment in order to overcome the technical challenges on site, in addition to the events of force majeure that we faced during the construction such as the pandemic (Covi-19) and Typhoon Odette. Based on frequent communication and involvement, we have had a smooth collaboration with our client,Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, and all parties are thrilled that this important link is in place.”

 In a Joint Venture with the Philippine consultancy DCCD, Cowi provided technical assistance and owner’s engineer services during the contract development and construction period, with input from Dissing & Weitling Architects on the early architectural layout.

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