Carnegie Mellon University
June 26, 2012

Sobrino Awarded Eugene C. Figg, Jr. Medal

Sobrino Awarded Eugene C. Figg, Jr. Medal

CEE Adjunct Professor, Juan Sobrino, was recently awarded the Eugene C. Figg, Jr. Medal for Signature Bridges at the International Bridge Conference (Pittsburgh, June 2012) for his work on The Triplets, three extradosed bridges built in La Paz (Bolivia). For a single, recent outstanding achievement in bridge engineering that, through vision and innovation, provides an icon to the community for which it was designed.

As part of the Design and Build Joint Venture, a team of engineers of PEDELTA led by Sobrino, developed the conceptual design and final design of the three bridges which is based on the same concept, and have similar structural configuration, but with different dimensions. All are extradosed with three-span decks and a single central plane of stays to offer a more transparent view; at the same time this introduces a new, modern structural type to Latin America. 

La Paz has a very complex steep topography, dominated by the numerous ravines of the Choqueyapu River. Communication between some neighborhoods is difficult and inadequate, especially in the highest ones, located at more than 3,600 m above the sea level. In these locations weather conditions are even more extreme and neighborhoods are often the least developed. The Municipality of La Paz decided to build the construction of a new road to improve the mobility of its citizens. The new road crosses three parallel and consecutive valleys which are crossed by three similar bridges. 

The bridge construction began in November 2007 and was completed in mid-2010 to coincide with the commemoration of the Bicentennial of Independence. The location of the bridges meant that the Triplets have become part of daily life for more than two million citizens.

Photo: Jed C Morris