El Porvenir Vehicular Culvert Bridge Rehabilitation 2011

The idea for the culvert bridge rehabilitation came from interviewing community members during the pedestrian bridge assessment trip. The culvert bridge was constructed 37 years ago after the owner of a poultry factory decided to fulfill his need for a way to transport eggs and chickens to the main highway. The factory has since shut down and the culvert bridge has been left in a state of disrepair. In the past 10 years, local community members have come together to perform repairs on the bridge after flooding washed out an approach wall and opened a 2-meter diameter hole in the deck. The repairs were limited by the financial restraints, which led to low quality concrete and no steel reinforcement. During the rainy season flash floods cause water to overtop the bridge for hours and sometimes days at a time. It is not uncommon for water to rise 1 to 2 meters above the bridge deck, making it impassible and causing major damage to the deck slab and scour on the downstream face.

The culvert bridge rehabilitation will allow cars and trucks to keep using the crossing. Vehicles are used to transport produce, agriculture workers and health clinic personnel across the river. Closing the bridge due to significant deck and approach damages, as has been done in the past, would be a huge blow to the people of El Porvenir, Tula, and Guayabo. Without the bridge, farmers struggle to bring their crops to market and the villages are cut off from vital resources. DEID had a few major components of the rehabilitation including a new reinforced concrete slab, gabions, and an upstream debris catcher. The reinforced concrete slab was attached to the old surface using epoxy and “L”-shaped rebar. The gabions, large and strategically placed cages of rocks, provided downstream scour protection, thus preventing further erosion at the abutments of the bridge. The debris catcher was implemented to keep trees and other large items from crashing down stream during the storm and blocking the culverts. The project was successfully completed in July 2011.