Cracks Discovered During Prestressing Works on Pocitelj Bridge News
The recent appearance of cracks on the Pocitelj Bridge in Bosnia and Herzegovina has raised concerns about the structural integrity of this vital transportation link along European Corridor 5C. However, infrastructure authorities have affirmed the overall stability of the bridge is not threatened.
The 980-meter long Pocitelj Bridge crosses over the Neretva River and connects the main M-17 road and Sarajevo-Ploče railway line. Its completion later this year will be a major milestone for infrastructure development in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The cracks were detected on a 4.75 meter concrete segment between piers S3 and S4 during prestressing works for phase 2 on span 4 of the bridge. According to technical analyses, minor changes in cable geometry can lead to significant increases in tensile stresses in the concrete.
Irregularities in cable duct positioning during construction may have created radial deflection forces resulting in localized cracks. The contractor and supervising engineer are now focused on accelerating repairs over the next 10 days.
Pocitelj Bridge Features Impressive Dimensions
As one of the largest current infrastructure projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Pocitelj Bridge features impressive dimensions with a total length of 980 meters and a main span stretching 147 meters over the valley.
The long-span concrete structure was built using free cantilever and incremental launching methods, requiring 38,000 cubic meters of concrete and 9,000 tons of reinforcing steel.
Sophisticated Engineering Provides Stability Assurances
Authorities affirmed the global stability and load-bearing capacity of the bridge remain sound. Prestressed concrete box-girder bridges are designed to redistribute stresses and prevent catastrophic failures.
Advanced 3D structural modeling validated the overall integrity of the bridge design. Ongoing monitoring and analysis will ensure any repairs meet strict technical specifications.
Strategic Location on Key Corridor 5C Route
The Pocitelj Bridge forms part of European Corridor 5C connecting Budapest and the Ploče port. Improving this route promotes economic development by linking central Europe to the Adriatic Sea.
The construction is financed via the European Investment Bank and Western Balkans Investment Framework grants totalling 28.1 million euros. Completion will boost trade and accessibility for Herzegovina.
Multinational Collaboration Drives Complex Project
A consortium of Azvirt (Azerbaijan), Sinohydro Corporation (China) and Powerchina Roadbridge Group (China) were contracted to construct the bridge under supervision of Italian engineering firm IRD.
Bosnia and Herzegovina engineering consultants IPSA Institut Sarajevo handled preliminary design work on the challenging project. Overseas expertise supplements local capabilities.
Future Prospects for Pocitelj Bridge Remain Bright Despite Setback
While the damage caused a setback, authorities view it as unsurprising for such a massive infrastructure project. Lessons learned will lead to improved quality controls and construction practices.
With main works still ongoing, the contractor and supervisors aim to rectify any defects and deliver the completed bridge by the end of 2023 as planned. Its long-term prospects remain positive.
The recent issues faced during construction of the Pocitelj Bridge serve as an opportunity to bolster engineering knowledge and demonstrate the ability to collaborate across borders to successfully execute complex infrastructure projects. With rigorous monitoring and analysis, the bridge will provide safe, reliable connectivity for generations to come.