The Baluarte Special Bridge is the most important structure included in the road infrastructure project with the highest density of tunnels and bridges per kilometer ever built in Mexico: the Durango-Mazatlán Freeway. In it, the modernization of the Matamoros-Mazatlán highway axis, one of the 14 priority trunk corridors ofthe national highway network, is continued.
The Baluarte Special Bridge has a total length of 3 687.66 ft. It is the structure with the largest central span in Latin America, 1 706 ft long, held in place by 152 steel cable stays, housing four lanes, with a total width of 72.17 ft. From the roadway to the mean river level there is a height of 1 320.76 ft, which in 2012 warranted its recognition as the highest cable-stayed bridge in the world, certified by Guinness World Records.
The substructure is made of 12 supports: two main pylons and nine pilings, made in turn by two leaning columns with their independent spread footing foundations and abutment 1. These columns are joined with braces with a 49.21 ft spacing and are prestressed. All of these elements are made of reinforced concrete. The bridge superstructure, adjacent to the central span (accesses), was built with a double cantilever procedure, with successive 13.12 ft-long advances towards both sides, called voussoirs, made of reinforced and prestressed concrete, and one metallic bridge section made of A-790, grade 50 steel. This procedure was put in place in supports 2 to 11.
The central span is composed of 36 metallic 39.37 ft-long voussoirs made with A-790, grade 50 steel and formed by two main beams, three 52.49 ft bridge sections and reinforced concrete slabs for the roadway. Upon the launching of each one of these sections, they were held in place by steel-strand braces anchored to pylons 5 and 6, thus forming the staying harp for each of them.
One of the greatest difficulties faced when planning, designing and building the bridge was access to the site, since 13.91 mi of access roads had to be built, requiring more than 52 972 000 ft3 of earth movement. Likewise, the necessary infrastructure to house personnel working on the project was built, which included dormitories; two dining rooms; recreation, cleaning and maintenance facilities; laundry; warehouses, and offices, which lodged more than 1 100 workers and about 160 technical-administrative collaborators, who made a great effort in performing their duties to attain the planned objective.