efe-epaQuito

A new bridge connecting the Ecuadoran cantons of Guayaquil and Samborondon, which is expected to save its 60,000 daily users 30 minutes on their commutes, will open this week.

The $72 million bridge, which was built by the Enlace 780 consortium - 60 percent owned by Spanish construction firm Eurofinsa/IBT and 40 percent by Ecuador's Verdun S.A. - will be inaugurated on Thursday by the two cities' mayors, Jaime Nebot Saadi and Jose Yunez Parra, respectively.

"The new infrastructure, almost 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) in length, including on-ramps, represents a milestone in Ecuadoran civil engineering," Eurofinsa/IBT manager Isaac Querub told EFE, adding that the bridge will be one of the most emblematic structures built by the firm, which operates in more than 30 countries.

The construction was not without difficulty, as the narrowness of the bridge made it hard to install the beams one by one, a problem the company circumvented by resorting to a Dutch hydraulic jacking system, taking advantage of the river's tidal rise to set them two or three at a time.

Querub - the legal representative of Enlace 780 - said that the bridge spans 780 meters (2,560 ft) over the Duale River, in addition to the 410 meters (1,345 ft) of the Viaducto Guayaquil and the 180 meters (590 ft) of the Samborondon on-ramp, as well as several other access routes.

The southwestern city of Guayaquil is considered to be Ecuador's economic capital and is home to the country's main commercial port and more than three million residents.