Baluarte BridgeCopyright: Panoramio

Baluarte Bridge

Officially called the Baluarte Bicentennial Bridge or the Baluarte Bridge (Peunte Baluarte in Spanish). The use of the word 'Bicentennial' refers to 2010, 200 years after Mexican Independence was declared from the Spanish. There were high hopes to have the bridge finished by 2010 but delays made that impossible.

Known locally as the Durango-Mazatlán highway it was the most extensive bridge and tunnel project undertaken in North America.

The whole project included a number of tunnels and smaller bridges and roads with the Baluarte being the jewel in the crown. The project was to bypass dangerous cliff-side roads which was constructed in the 1940's and known as 'The Devil's Backbone'.

The construction began on 21st February 2008 and by January 2012 the construction was at its busiest with 1,500 workers. 447,000 m3 (1.1 million tonnes) of stone had to be excavated, 12 million kg (12,000 tonnes) of steel and 90,000m3 (216,510 tonnes) of concrete were used in its construction and this does not include the construction of 61 tunnels, 115 bridges or the 140km of roadway.

The bridge is especially important as it is the only crossing of the Baluarte River for 800km (497 miles) slashing the time from Durango to Matzalán from 8 hours to just two and a half!

At the bridges inauguration, officials from the Guinness Book of Records formally declared it to be the highest cable-stay bridge in the world even though it had not fully been completed! This has now been overtaken by the Yachi River Bridge in China which stands at 434m (1,424ft) and the Duge Bridge also in China which stands at 565m (1,854ft)!

The district officials claim that the bridge will bring employment and growth to the area as well as security in more remote areas. US officials however see it as a potential drugs superhighway straight into America itself.

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