Bridges to Prosperity – Guatemala

Submitted by Maria Bartrum | Location: Chimaltenango, Guatemala  |  NGO: Bridges to Prosperity |  Date: Feb. 18, 2013

With a donation from the Rotary Club, this bridge was completed 1 year ago by Bridges to Prosperity. The preparation for the bridge took several weeks but was completed on site in two weeks. This bridge allows for the communities on either side of the bridge to cross over. The old bridge washed out decades ago and they have been using logs to get across.

The photos show the bridge with the concrete platforms on either side. Lynn Roberts walks across in another.

The green paint that has been applied to the wood ends to keep the fungus from growing which deteriorates the wood in a short time. Without a roof over this type of wood, there is a high risk of rot due to the temperature and humidity. The penny and zinc washer have been used here with the idea that it would form electrolysis and bleed into the wood that would keep fungus from growing. It’s an experiment they are trying.

The fungus occurs where there is overlap and the wood does not dry properly. They used cedar which needs to dry between wet events in order to last a long time. Past bridges have deteriorated within 3 years so they are experimenting with different available woods to avoid this problem. Oak from the mountains can last up to 50 years but it cannot be buried in the ground or it will break down quickly. Locals swear by a wood called bolador, which they say will last 100 years but it is from the coast and would need to be transported long distances. Pine and cedar are the most common woods in the area but won’t last more than 5 years without some form of treatment. It’s not possible to get pressure treated wood at all.

Some photos show the river bed and the location of the old bridge that was washed out.

The bridge is also known as the “Hammock Bridge.”

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