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“LOS CARAS” Bridge 

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Victor Gallo

“LOS CARAS” bridge is located over the estuary of the Chone River connecting the cantons of Bahía de Caráquez and San Vicente, in the province of Manabí in Ecuador. It was built by the Ecuadorian national government specifically as part of the National Mobility Strategic Plan, led by the Ministry of Transportation and Public Works (MTOP), construction began on January 15, 2008, and was finally inaugurated in October 2010.

The Chone River is one of the main tributaries of the province of Manabí and this area is the most developed in the province, therefore, there are nearby towns such as Calceta, Junín, Chone, Tosagua and the cantonal capitals that are Bahía de Caráquez and San Vicente, mentioned above. The idea of the construction of this bridge has been a political promise for several years, specifically and officially it was included in the candidacy program by the presidential candidate Raúl Clemente Huerta in 1978, the dream of the construction of this bridge continued being a campaign promise for Abdalá Bucaram and Gustavo Noboa, both presidents of Ecuador, until finally in 2008 the project began its approval and construction.

The population of the Bahía de Caráquez canton, according to official data from the National Institute of Statistics and Census for 2010, is 57,159 inhabitants, while San Vicente canton is 22,025 inhabitants (INEC, 2010). The Bahía de Caráquez canton has an altitude of 15 meters above sea level and a tropical climate of 25°C. It was part of an indigenous territorial entity between the provinces of Manabí and Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas. Currently, this canton is dedicated to the shrimp industry, trading, and tourism. In the canton of San Vicente, it has an altitude between 3 and 303 meters above sea level, its temperature varies between 24.30 °C and 28.30 °C, its main economic activity is agriculture, trading, industry, and construction.

“LOS CARAS” bridge, currently, through which approximately 11,000 to 12,000 vehicles pass per day (PRIMICIAS, 2023), is 1980 meters long and 13.20 meters wide, the value of its construction exceeds 102 million dollars (approximately 150 million euros at the beginning of its construction). The bridge has two lanes, one in each direction, one bike line, longitudinal crosswalk, two shoulders or safety barriers and three rest balconies so that tourists can enjoy the coastal view. Even the bridge has ornamental lighting highlighting the beauty of this construction and obviously attracting the attention of the public.

The construction of this project not only favored connectivity between the north and south of the province, but also allowed the connection of the mountain region and the Ecuadorian coast, because this bridge is part of the “Spondylus Route Emblematic Project” of the State Road Network Plan of the Government of Alianza País (political party of the then President of Ecuador). For this reason, in 2013, the construction and repaving of the main streets of San Vicente was also designated, since it is a destination included in the spondylus route, the main tourist attraction on the Ecuadorian coast.

Before the construction of this bridge, people who wanted to travel to the other canton out of necessity or for leisure used several transportation such as barges and pangas, by sea; and also by land, those who had their own car or used public transportation used the Margarita highway, traveling approximately 65 kilometers in about two and a half hours due to the condition of the road, since it was not paved and also being in a tropical zone. Rain was a factor that significantly affected the road and its users.

The result of the construction of this bridge got direct and indirect benefits. The direct benefits are those that immediately access or the release of consequent resources such as, for example, the connection between communities, reduction in travel time between both cantons and fuel savings. Indirect benefits are those that occur in different markets related to the service, in this case such as, for example, the innumerable sources of work benefiting local communities and businesses, decreased vehicle maintenance costs, improved the province’s commerce by encouraging agricultural production, tourism was promoted, and consequently local and international investment arrived.

After the construction of the “LOS CARAS” bridge, local and international investors became extremely interested in this sector of the country due to its great attractiveness, over the years, hospitals, schools, shopping centers and local businesses of all kinds have been built. At the same time, the construction of this project has had an impact outside the scope of the project, but within the society that evaluates it, such as the increase in capital gains that the properties surrounding the bridge gained and benefited from the urban regeneration that was linked to the project.

The construction of this bridge has had a significant impact internationally since it managed to raise the country, between 2006 and 2015, in the ranking of best quality roads to 57 positions, according to the World Economic Forum; previously the country was in 82nd place and currently in 25th place. In Latin America, Ecuador ranked first, surpassing Chile and Panama.



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EL UNIVERSO. (2023, julio 12). Un millón de dólares para trabajos de mantenimiento del puente Los Caras. Retrieved from

GADM San Vicente. (2022). Información General. Retrieved from,m%C3%A1s%20en%20%C3%A9pocas%20de%20lluvia.

Gobierno del Ecuador. (n.d.). Ciudades Patrimoniales. Retrieved from BAHIA DE CARAQUEZ:,el%20comercio%20y%20el%20turismo.

INEC. (2010). Resultados del Censo 2010 de Población y Vivienda en el Ecuador. Ecuador: INEC.

Ministerio de Transportes y Obras Públicas (MTOP). (n.d.). Obras Públicas. Retrieved from Puente “Los Caras” obra del Gobierno Nacional: Atractivo turístico dentro y fuera del país:

PRIMICIAS. (2023, septiembre 23). Puente Los Caras, que costó USD 102 millones, comienza a deteriorarse. Retrieved from PRIMICIAS:

Redacción Política. (2017, mayo 20). El Telégrafo. Retrieved from Puente de Bahía de Caráquez. Los Caras,un sueño hecho realidad en Manabí:

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