In coordination with Bridges
to Prosperity (B2P), Balfour Beatty recently celebrated the
completion of a 430-foot suspended footbridge in the isolated rural
Espiritu Santo community near Cochabamba, Bolivia. Planned for months
and constructed by Balfour Beatty’s 10-member, volunteer team over two
weeks, the new footbridge helps support B2P’s dedication to building
footbridges over impassible rivers so that isolated communities can
access healthcare, education and economic opportunities.
Located in a mountainous region at an elevation over 8,000 feet, the
Espiritu Santo community is situated within the Andes mountain range.
The residents of Espiritu Santo are fishermen and farmers who grow
various crops including cassava, pineapples, bananas, oranges, avocados
and papayas to provide for their families. To access the markets,
schools and health services in Cochabamba, they must cross the Espiritu
Santo River, which is too dangerous to cross year-round.
“The Bridges to Prosperity experience was nothing short of amazing – the
community members were fantastic, the Bridges to Prosperity team was
awesome and our team came together like a family,” said Aislinn Smith,
project manager at Balfour Beatty and 2018 B2P team leader. “Not only
was this a transformational project for the Espiritu Santo community,
but the experience profoundly impacted everyone on our team. We built
this bridge for local children to have a safe passage to school, for
farmers to buy and sell goods, and for families to have easier access to
medical care. With another successful project completed, we’re excited
to start planning our next B2P project.”
Prior to completing the footbridge, locals could only cross the river on
a make-shift zip line (zip
line video). Though precarious, the zip line was the only way they
could transport heavy pouches of goods and products between villages,
and access Cochabamba for basic services. In just the past three years,
locals reported that two people lost their lives and another 10 people
were injured attempting to cross the river. The new Espiritu Santo
Suspended Bridge now offers safe, year-round passage for over 1,400
people, and provides increased opportunities for trade and welfare that
will empower the communities to thrive.
To fund the trip, the build team took on fundraising efforts, receiving
significant support of over $107,000 from colleagues, friends, family
and Balfour Beatty business partners. With the help of the company’s
national strategic procurement team, Balfour Beatty’s build team
received financial and in-kind support from a total of 312 supporters.
The title sponsors include Performance Door and Hardware, Schneider
Electric, BARR Concrete, ECS, GLX Constructors, Heede, HOOKCAM,
Knock-Out Specialties, NAFCO, P&A Roofing and Sheet Metal, Pro-Craft
Construction, Southern Safety & Supply, Sunbelt Rentals, and Titan
Learn more about the build team’s sponsors and experience by visiting
Beatty Bridges to Prosperity blog.
About Bridges to Prosperity
Bridges to Prosperity is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization
dedicated to the eradication of extreme poverty through rural
infrastructure development focused on footbridges. Since its founding in
2001, Bridges to Prosperity has served more than 920,000 people in 20
countries with the construction of over 245 bridges. In addition to
providing much-needed mobility, these bridge projects serve to teach
footbridge construction to local communities and provide opportunities
for leadership development and personal growth through international
collaboration. Learn more at www.bridgestoprosperity.org.
About Balfour Beatty
Balfour Beatty is an industry-leading provider of general contracting,
at-risk construction management and design-build services for public and
private sector clients across the United States. Performing heavy civil
and vertical construction, the company is part of Balfour
Beatty plc (LSE: BBY), a leading international infrastructure group
that provides innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our
daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth.
Consistently ranked among the nation’s largest contractors, Balfour
Beatty is the No. 6 Domestic Building Contractor in the United States as
ranked by Engineering News-Record. To learn more, visit www.balfourbeattyus.com.
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