Thanks to Flatiron and Turner, more than 1,100 people from two rural Nicaraguan towns are able to safely cross a major river year round to reach the farm fields where they work, the school where their children study, and the closest health clinic.
Flatiron completed its ninth footbridge with Bridges to Prosperity, the El Dorado hybrid suspension bridge, in Esteli, Nicaragua, on May, 18. U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Phyllis M. Powers attended the bridge inauguration and took the first walk across the bridge with a local schoolgirl. Hundreds of community members followed anxiously behind, celebrating the achievement of the combined volunteer team of Flatiron Construction and Turner Construction, with members of Bridges to Prosperity and the El Dorado community.
The El Dorado footbridge is also the first Bridges to Prosperity has built from a hybrid design of suspension and suspended footbridges. This hybrid design allows Bridges to Prosperity to build footbridges in locations with height differences, a common occurrence in the region. Equally important, this hybrid design also allows Bridges to Prosperity to build near footpaths already being used by communities, making these bridges as locally integrated as possible.
Earlier this spring, Team San Jose de Pire, the first of 2013, celebrated the inauguration of its footbridge on April 19. The 57-meter-long suspension bridge, also near Esteli, Nicaragua, used four, 0.6-inch bridge cables from the Port Mann Bridge. The last team for 2013, Team Ducale Grande, arrived in Nicaragua on July 23.
For much of the rainy season, communities are faced with a difficult choice: crossing the raging water to get to work and school, or stay home. The footbridges provide a safe river crossing year-round.
Flatiron has partnered with Bridges to Prosperity since 2010, building footbridges in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.