• Ministerio Obras Públicas de Chile

    Chacao Channel Bridge

    Island of Chiloe, Llanquihue, Chile

Project Summary

    • Bridge design featuring 1,055- and 1,155-meter main spans
    • Chacao Channel Bridge, Llanquihue, Chile
    • Bridge design featuring 1,055- and 1,155-meter main spans


At 2.75 kilometers, Chacao Channel Bridge will be the longest suspension bridge in South America. The 1,055- and 1,155-meter main spans will clear the Chacao channel by 50 meters. Three towers will rise to heights of 157, 175, and 199 meters. The Chile Ministry of Public Works commissioned the USD 740 million bridge to connect the Island of Chiloe to the mainland. The highly seismic region, strong currents, deep channel, and high winds have presented significant engineering and construction challenges.


The Ministry of Public Works is in charge of design verification, structural evaluation, and constructability. The subsidence of a mid-channel rock formation created a special challenge during construction of the central, 175-meter inverted-Y tower. The Ministry solved the problem by using the advanced dynamics and wind analysis capabilities of RM Bridge. Performing 3D computational analysis aided in evaluating alternatives and improving design quality.


Given the harsh environmental conditions, RM Bridge’s parametric analysis capabilities reduced the time required to evaluate alternatives and verify the structural design. Upon completion in 2020, the Chacao Channel Bridge will improve quality of life, commerce, and tourism for the Island of Chiloe and the port city of Puerto Montt. The bridge will replace sporadic ferry service across the rough channel. The Chilean government estimates the advent of improved commerce will result in a 6 percent return on investment.


The Chile Ministry of Public Works implemented Bentley’s master bridge engineering software, RM Bridge, for bridge design, analysis, and construction, and gINT to streamline data management and reporting for the geotechnical and geoenvironmental work. RM Bridge has proved to be a powerful tool for checking complex structural designs and reacting quickly to conditions in the field that require design modifications.

  • Bentley software streamlined the evaluation of alternatives that were prepared under changing design requirements, and facilitated work sharing and cross checking among team members.
  • Global analysis with RM Bridge saved time and reduced costs by simplifying information exchange with other software.
  • The detailed wind studies, time-history analyses, and seismic scenarios helped to improve the quality of the bridge design.
  • “RM Bridge has been a very powerful tool for the challenging design tasks of the Chacao Bridge, improving the checking process and ensuring quality in the process. The software is an excellent platform for innovation.”

    Ing. Matias Valenzuela, PhD. Ministerio Obras Públicas de Chile