The Rion-Antirion Bridge, Greece

The 2006 IABSE Outstanding Structure Award has been conferred to three structures: The Central Bus Station Hamburg, Germany, The Rion-Antirion Bridge; Greece, The Millau Viaduct, France. Professor Manfred A. Hirt, President of IABSE, conferred the Award at the Opening of the IABSE Symposium ‘Structures and Extreme Events’ in Budapest, Hungary on September 13, 2006.

The Award recognises the most remarkable, innovative, creative or otherwise stimulating structures completed within the last few years. It consists of a Plaque to be fixed to the structure and Diplomas for the Structural Engineer, the Architect, the Contractor, and the Owner.

The Rion-Antirion Bridge received the Outstanding Structure Award for being 'a monumental bridge over a demanding route with significant foundation and challenges executed with strength and grace'.

It crosses the Gulf of Corinth in western Greece. Its environment presents an exceptional combination of difficult physical conditions: large water depth, deep soil strata of week alluviums, strong seismic activity, and possible tectonic movements. Furthermore the Bridge has to withstand the impact of a 180,000 tanker sailing at 16 knots. All these constraints have called for an exceptional design: this cable-stayed bridge presents three main spans, 560 m each, and two lateral spans. Foundations consist of 90 m diameter caissons resting on the sea bed. The top 20m of soils is reinforced by means of a quite innovative concept called inclusions.

Another unique feature of the project is its continuous fully suspended deck, for its total length of 2252 m. This creates an effective isolation system that reduces seismic forces in the structure and allows the deck to accommodate fault movements. The Bridge was completed in August 2004, five months ahead of schedule.

May 25, 2007: Plaque Unveiling at the Rion-Antirion Bridge,  Greece

On Friday, May 25, 2007, IABSE President, Manfred Hirt, Chair OStrAC, Loring Wyllie Jr and President-Elect, Jacques Combault, were among a long list of persons invited by GEFYRA SA to celebrate the naming of the bridge over the Gulf of Corinth between Rion and Antirion, followed by the unveiling of plaques.

The Ceremony began with church blessings for the official naming of the bridge and to honour the first politician, (Charilaos Trikoupis), who had originally proposed the construction of a bridge on this site, about one hundred years ago.  Picture Gallary.

Dignitaries, headed by the Greek Republic President Karolos Papoulia then moved to the special monument, a stone pyramid, to which also the fib, IABSE and ASCE award plaques are fixed. The names of hundreds of persons who have contributed to the construction of this bridge are engraved on two of its faces. The President of Greece finally unveiled the Plaques.
French engineer Jean-Paul Teyssandier, who had spent the last decade working on the Bridge, hosted an evening dinner in a tavern at Achia Claus, a winery founded in 1861 by the Bavarian Gustav Claus. Invited were national and international professionals involved on the Project. The splendid evening offered a chance for dancing and interesting conversation among old and new acquaintances.

President Hirt to addressed the attendees, expressing his opinion that the bridge connection Rion and Antirion has already become a landmark structure, similar to examples like the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York, or also the Akashi-Straits Bridge in Japan, the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark, the Lupu Bridge in Shanghai, and others.

The Corinthian Straits Crossing is not just long, impressive and beautiful. It also represents the result of combined efforts by ingenious engineers, gifted architects and innovative construction techniques.

IABSE shares the pride of the Greek people and all persons involved in the construction of the bridge for this astonishing structure, built with high tech engineering that was developed both over many years of bridge construction and by recent research.