El Carrizo Bridge
El Carrizo Bridge
Puente El Carrizo
El Palmito, Sinaloa, Mexico
670 feet high / 204 meters high
(459) foot span / (140) meter span
Scheduled to open in 2012, El Carrizo is one of several amazingly high bridges that are a part of the greatest highway engineering project ever undertaken in North American history - the Durango to Mazatlán highway in northwestern Mexico. As the second highest bridge on the route, El Carrizo will also be the third highest bridge in Mexico at 670 feet (204 mtrs). Only the nearby Baluarte River bridge on the same Durango-Mazatlán highway will be higher with a deck 1,280 feet (390 mtrs) above the river. El Carrizo's 525 foot (160 meter) tall central pier will also be the second tallest in North America. The Baluarte and El Carrizo bridges are just 3 miles (5 km) apart from each other.
The Durango-Mazatlán highway will be the only crossing for more than 500 miles (800 km) between the Pacific coast and the interior of Mexico. The path of this new 2-lane highway roughly parallels the famous “Devil’s Backbone”, a narrow road that earned its nickname from the way it follows the precarious ridge crest of the jagged peaks of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains. The dangerous road is a seemingly endless onslaught of twisting, terrifying turns that are so tight there are times the road nearly spirals back into itself.
By cutting a safer, more direct route through the mountains, the highway department of Mexico hopes to improve trade and increase tourism between the city of Durango and the coastal city of Mazatlán. To achieve this connection, the Mexican engineers were forced to design an autopista with no less than 64 tunnels - far more than have ever been built on any road in North America. The highway has a total of 8 bridges that exceed 300 feet (90 mtrs) in height including El Carrizo, Santa Lucia, Neverías, La Pinta, Chico, Botijas, Pueblo Nuevo and Baluarte. Only China’s West Hurong and Kunming-Guiyang and Italy’s A3 highways have a greater collection of high bridges.
Image by ElUniversal.com.mx
Map of the Durango-Mazatlan highway showing the location of the 9 highest bridges and 59 of the 63 tunnels. The Neverías, La Pinta and Rio Chico bridges were completed between 2005 and 2008 and are open to traffic. The rest of the highway will open in 2012.
El Carrizo Bridge satellite image.