Professor Santiago Hernandez from the University of La Coruña, School of Civil Engineering, gave a special lecture at Ashurst Lodge on “The Balconies Bridge: A New Crossing over La Coruña Bay”.  This bridge will span the distance between the city of La Coruña and a peninsula located to the east constituting a part of the metropolitan area of La Coruña. On a daily basis thousands of people travel to and from La Coruña and the peninsula causing severe congestion.

The presentation started with a description of the current transport infrastructures around La Coruña leading to the conclusion of the urgent necessity of defining new connections between La Coruña and its surrounding area. Among the different possibilities a bridge crossing the bay appeared as the most appropriate solution.

Professor Hernandez proceeded by explaining several possible alternatives for the conceptual design of the bridge and amongst them prototypes of a multi-portal bridge, a multi-arch bridge, a suspension bridge and a cable-stayed bridge were taken into consideration. As a result a cable-stayed bridge provided a better solution from the point of view of minimum environmental impact, technical capabilities and financial cost.

profhernandez.jpgThe selected cable-stayed bridge will have a main span length of 658 m, and constitute the second longest bridge in Europe and the fourth longest bridge in the world in this class. Several computed generated pictures of the bridge were presented to the participants. Illustrations showed that in addition to the capabilities of the bridge for car traffic the construction is very much intended for pedestrian use as well. At each bridge tower a large balcony, or mirador, will be constructed to encourage open air activities and fishing.

The presentation also contained the description of the technical aspects carried out for the bridge that included linear and non linear structural analysis, cable optimisation and CFD identification of the aerodynamic behaviour of the deck. Finally, the construction procedures were shown in detail.

Professor Hernandez, a renowned specialist in Optimum Design and Bridge Engineering, is also a member of the Board of Directors of WIT and Adjunct Professor at the Institute.

In recent years he has participated in the design of the Messina Bridge on behalf of one of the consulting engineering companies which tendered for this ground-breaking project.
The presentation helped to highlight the importance of the work being carried out by Professor Hernandez’s group in La Coruña, and its emphasis on practical applications.