The initial April 2023 opening of the Integration Bridge (Puente de la Integracion), connecting Brazil with Paraguay, unveiled a crucial new traffic link between the two countries. The Penetron System was specified to protect the bridge’s concrete deck structures from deterioration.
The Integration Bridge is the second major traffic connection between Brazil and Paraguay, spanning the Paraná River, between the towns of Presidente Franco (Paraguay) and Foz de Yguazu (Brazil). The new bridge provides a much-needed boost in capacity for cargo transport, easing the bottleneck of the Friendship Bridge, first commissioned in 1965, which has hampered traffic for years. Access to the Integration Bridge will remain limited until May 2025 due to ongoing infrastructure work that will enhance access to the new bridge.
The R$463 million (US$84 million) construction project was carried out by a consortium, Construbase-Cidade-Paulitec, and also includes work on connector roads on the Brazilian side and compensation for residents who were displaced due to the bridge location. The Integration Bridge is 760 m (2,500 feet) long with a free span of 470 m (1,550 feet) – the longest in Latin America. The bridge accommodates two single 3.6 m-wide lanes, a 3 m-wide shoulder, and a 1.7 m-wide sidewalk. The final bridge height is about 174 m (575 feet).
“The bridge deck structure, where the “rubber meets the road,” is usually the most vulnerable element of a bridge to degradation,” explains Cláudio Neves Ourives, CEO and Managing Partner of Penetron Brazil. “A bridge deck is exposed to the largest temperature swings and continuous traffic stresses.”
For the project engineers at Construbase-Cidade-Paulitec, protecting the underlying concrete structure of the deck from deterioration, especially corrosion of steel, was a priority. Penetron Brazil was asked to provide a durable concrete waterproofing solution to secure a longer bridge service life – and reduce downstream maintenance and repair costs.
“Once you reduce concrete permeability, water and waterborne chemicals are unable to penetrate into the matrix,” adds Cláudio Neves Ourives.
After review by Construbase-Cidade-Paulitec, the Penetron System was specified. PENETRON, a topical crystalline waterproofing material, was applied to all the joints of the consolidation plates of the bridge deck. PENETRON ADMIX, a crystalline waterproofing admixture, was used in the underlying concrete plates, and PENESEAL PRO, a spray-on liquid sealer, was sprayed over the entire bridge deck as a final coating.
Once applied to prepared concrete surfaces, PENETRON penetrates deeply into the concrete matrix to significantly increase the durability of the bridge's concrete structures. PENETRON ADMIX is added to the concrete mix during the batching phase to ensure an impermeable matrix. PENESEAL PRO forms a sub-surface gel barrier to seal hairline cracks and protect concrete against any water penetration.
The active ingredients in Penetron’s crystalline products generate a non-soluble crystalline formation throughout the pores and capillary tracts of the concrete. These crystals permanently seal micro-cracks, pores, and capillaries against the penetration of water or liquids from any direction – making the concrete impermeable.
“The Penetron System is proven in similar highway and bridge construction projects around the world,” concludes Cláudio Neves Ourives. “The final results for the Integration Bridge project exceeded the builder’s expectations!”