Puente Flotante (Pontoon Bridge)
Colectivo Aqua Alta
Modular pontoon bridge system for communities living in flood-prone areas.
Puente Flotante (Floating Bridge) is a modular pontoon bridge system that consists of floating platforms secured together to connect flooded areas. The system was designed by Colectivo Aqua Alta and co-built with Centro Comunitario Chararita in Asuncion, Paraguay in 2015. The system was implemented as part of efforts to assist families affected by the Paraguay river floods.
The product was distributed in Asuncion, Paraguay in 2015.
Free (open-source design)
The pontoon bridge is an ancient floating system used by Chinese, Romans, and Persians in wartime and emergencies. Modern solutions similar to the floating bridge can be found as floating docks blocks.
Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
Communities living in flood-prone areas
The pontoon bridge module consists of three main parts:
- Structural frame: following the designer’s instruction, the frame is built using wood planks and studs and fastened together using bolts, nuts, washers, nails, and steel wire.
- Buoyant: using steel wire, users tied two 200 L plastic drums to the structural frame.
- Deck: recycled shipping panels of approximately 100 x 110 x 15 cm
Modules connect using bolts, nuts, and washers.
Open-source designs are available from the Colectivo Aqua Alta Facebook page.
As of 2020, approximately 80 pontoon bridge modules have been distributed in the Chacarita neighborhood in Asuncion, Paraguay.
Size of the component
List of primary materials in the component
List of secondary materials in the component
Measurement, calculated in hours, of the component’s resistance to fire
R value associated with material/product
The compressive strength of the component, measured in megapascals
List of suitable climates for use of this components
A module of the pontoon bridge system is composed of the following materials:
- 1 unit of shipping pallet (100 x 110 cm)
- 3 wood planks of section 4 x 1 inches and length 120 cm
- 5 wood studs of section 3 x 3 inches and 240 cm length
- 4 wood studs of section 3 x 3 inches and 350 cm length
- 2 units of 200 L plastic drums
- 20 bolts of 8 mm diameter and 7 inches length with correspondent nuts and washers.
- Steel wire
- 2-1/2 inches length nails.
- Zip ties
There is no technical support provided and users are expected to maintain the product on their own.
All components are replaceable and they can be found in the local market.
The exact lifetime of the product is unknown. However, the pontoon bridge built in 2015 in Asuncion, Paraguay, lasted for around 8 weeks.
The pontoon bridge was designed as an emergency communication system. The performance target includes low-cost, easy to build, portable, and floatable.
Testing performed by the manufacturer in December 2015 determined a satisfactory operation of the pontoon bridge system. However, no third-party testing has been completed.
No third-party organizations, only testing performed by the designer in collaboration with Centro Comunitario Chararita and members of the community.
Potential hazards related to the fabrication of this product include accidental cuts caused by the use of power tools. Hazards related to the use of this system include structural instability caused by waves.
Although none local regulations regarding this type of structure were found, the pontoon bridge system was implemented with the support of the National Emergency Secretary (SEN), part of the Paraguayan Government.
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