Located on the Spanish island Menorca, this 55 m long arch bridge provides road connection to the beach resort town of Cala Galdana across the marina. Upon its completion in 2005 it became the first stainless-steel road bridge in the world and illustrates the great possibilities offered by this material to structural engineering. Even if the cost of stainless-steel is considerably superior to conventional construction materials such as carbon steel and concrete, an economic decision based on the life cycle cost of the structure enhances the attractiveness of structural solutions with stainless steel, thanks to considerable savings on maintenance.
The 13 m wide deck has two traffic lanes and two lateral sidewalks. Each sidewalk is 2 m wide and allows pedestrians to enjoy the panoramic views from an excellent location. The structure consists of two parallel arches, with the deck at an intermediate height. The arches and the deck join at the abutments by means of an inclined strut that takes the horizontal component of the arch’s axial force and as a result significant horizontal forces are not transferred to the abutments.
During the design process, different structural and material alternatives were analyzed. In the end, a duplex stainless-steel arch structure was chosen due to its high resistance to corrosion from the marine atmosphere, as the solution that better responded to the client’s requirements. The solution was designed fulfilling four explicit objectives: environmental respect (during construction and in service: recovery of the old river bed), high durability, minimum maintenance and a symbol of advanced technology.
Sobrino, J.A.; Stainless Steel Road Bridge in Menorca, Spain. Structural Engineering International, Journal of IABSE, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 96-100, (ISSN 001016-8664), May 2006.
Sobrino J.A.; Pont en acier inoxydable à Cala Galdana (Minorque, Espagne) (in French). Bulletin d’ouvrages métalliques No. 4, pp 22-34, OTUA, Paris, 2005.