Engineers Without Borders

MSOE Student Chapter

In March 2010, our team of EWB-MSOE students and professionals completed a vehicular bridge in the rural village of Tres Cruces, Guatemala. Similar to our other bridges in Joyabaj, this one provides reliable year-round access for about 4,000 people in Tres Cruces and the surrounding countryside to reach the central town of Joyabaj for education, commerce, and healthcare. It should also open the doorway to further development of Tres Cruces and the surrounding region.

This project required two implementation trips. The professional partners on the first trip, conducted in January 2010, excavated and poured the bridge foundations and abutments. The second trip, composed of students and professional/faculty mentors, then completed the superstructure and retaining walls on the sides of the bridge. In preparation for these implementation trips, the professionals and students worked over the summer and fall of 2009 to produce a technical design for the bridge and a plan for constructing it with the close help of the municipal government of Joyabaj and the community leadership of Tres Cruces. The members of the local community, having an eagerness to invest in this improvement to their lives, willingly provided much of the labor for both implementation trips, along with on-site housing for EWB personnel.

I was able to travel on the second implementation trip to construct the superstructure and wing walls as seen in the embedded video that I created.