Ports and Terminals

SP government presents modified plans for Santos-Guarujá bridge project

Nov, 25, 2020 Posted by Ruth Hollard

Week 202049

Last week, the government of São Paulo presented the new project to the Infrastructure Ministry (MINFRA) for the billion-dollar bridge between Santos and Guarujá. There are significant changes in relation to the engineering studies released in 2019. The central span of the bridge, which was 400 meters, has now been extended to 750 meters between its pillars.

According to the State Secretary for Logistics and Transport, João Octaviano Machado Neto, the changes meet requirements made by the Ministry for the approval of the project. The bridge requires federal authorization because it affects the Port of Santos and its structures, and its access ramps use federal land.

The architectural differences are clear. Instead of the cable-stayed structure, as in the previous version, the new project is for a suspension bridge such as the Hercílio Luz bridge (Florianópolis) or the American Golden Gate bridge (São Francisco). Increasing the design to 750 meters wide and 85 meters high in the main span removes any physical risk for the passage of ships and port activity expansions, says the Secretary.

The work, which would take 36 months, had its budget revalued from R$ 3 billion to R$ 3.9 billion. The investment would be totally private and be through an amendment to the concession contract of Ecovias, a company that manages the Anchieta-Imigrantes highway system. The contract originally was to expire in 2026.

Minister Tarcísio Freitas has adopted a skeptical discourse on the bridge’s feasibility and has put the design of a submerged tunnel as the preferred alternative for the dry Santos-Guarujá link. Tarcísio’s concern is with possible damage due to the maneuvers of large ships. In his words, “bridges and ports don’t go together”.

The tunnel project, with a different location from the bridge (between the Macuco and Itapema neighborhoods), received the support of port terminal operators. They joined in a movement to defend the submerged connection of 1.7 kilometers and budgeted at R$ 3.5 billion, the “Vou de Túnel”.

On November 16, on a visit to the port, the minister said that “there is a total possibility” of including the tunnel work among the requirements assumed by the winner of the Santos Port Authority (SPA) privatization process. “We are studying this very carefully and verify that it fits within the concession. We are now carrying out studies […] to offer a good logistics solution, for mobility, that does not hinder the expansion and development of the Port of Santos, ”he said.

For Secretary Octaviano, the two projects are not exclusive, but complementary. He just emphasizes that the tunnel, due to its characteristics and location, would focus more on urban mobility. The bridge, he argues, has a more logistical purpose and should receive up to 5,000 trucks per day. It is expected to cut cargo travel time by two thirds.

Octaviano states that simulations of maneuvers were carried out in the USP Evidence Tank, including critical scenarios (winds up to 40 knots, loss of rudder control, rupture of the tug line), and the conclusion is that the bridge does not hinder movement.

MINFRA’s adviser said that “there will be a careful analysis of the material made available and briefly presented [during a meeting with the São Paulo government and Ecovias], as well as a verification by the project proponents of the notes previously indicated at the meeting.” “Everything will be evaluated together with the tunnel alternative to determine the most suitable solution, and also the best address to make the project feasible – both in terms of its cost and its term, whether in the scope of the port privatization project or another design. ”

Source: Valor Econômico

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