Delivering replacement bridges in Costa Rica through innovative procurement solutions
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Tropical storms and hurricanes have always affected Costa Rica, especially in coastal and rural regions, where the construction of housing and road infrastructure may not have been suitably robust; road and pedestrian bridges were prone to collapse, leaving communities isolated for weeks. The Costa Rican government realised that these emergencies were becoming more frequent, possibly not helped by the threat of climate change.
The Costa Rican Directorate of Bridges had a commitment to replace the bridges destroyed or damaged by storms and hurricanes, and to build new bridges, facilitating communication and improving infrastructure in the affected areas.
However, the challenge of tendering for public contracts, through out of date processes, was not facilitating the urgent response needed to re-connect the communities affected. The geography throughout Costa Rica is varied, meaning that replacement bridges had to be built in coastal and mountainous areas – both a challenge for different reasons. A viable solution was required to allow for shorter times for each project and a more immediate construction of the replacement bridge.Back to top
With this in mind, the Directorate of Bridges decided to use a ‘Buy on Demand’ concept as an alternative to public procurement. This was based on a transparent tendering process, which included some of the most experienced manufacturers of modular steel bridges. Mabey won the tender by offering the most competitive price and the fastest delivery time.
46 no. Mabey Compact 200™ 18-span bridges were delivered, suitable for both vehicular and pedestrian use. Because modular steel bridges are so versatile, this meant bridges of varied lengths could be built, depending on the needs of each project specification. Training was also provided to the Costa Rican construction teams on the quick assembly of the modular bridges.Back to top
42 no. new bridges were installed in total – these are currently still in use and operating well. The bridges were installed without any problem, enabling the crossings on the affected roads to be re-opened in the fastest possible time. The destroyed bridges had halted communication between towns and communities; after the construction of the new bridges, the population could once again move about and trade with surrounding communities. Services were also restored and schools and medical services returned to normal.Back to top