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    Balfour Beatty Bridges to Prosperity Team Celebrates Completion of Suspended Footbridge Project in Remote Bolivian Community

    November 15, 2017

    DALLAS – In coordination with Bridges to Prosperity (B2P), Balfour Beatty recently celebrated the completion of a 100-meter, suspended footbridge in the rugged and remote community of Tetillas, Bolivia. Planned for months and constructed by Balfour Beatty’s 11-member, volunteer team over the course of two weeks, the new footbridge is now helping support B2P’s dedication to building footbridges over impassible rivers so that isolated communities can access healthcare, education and economic opportunities.     

    “It’s almost impossible to put into words what joining the Bridges to Prosperity family and building the suspended footbridge for the people of Tetillas means to me and our entire team,” said Mark Konchar, chief of innovation at Balfour Beatty. “We knew it would be a transformational project not only for the Tetillas community, but also for our eleven teammates who came together from across the country. We built this bridge for an entire community—for local children to have a safe passage to school, for farmers to buy and sell goods, and for families to have easier access to medical care. However, our team also realizes the significant and inspiring impact this experience has made on us and our organization. We are excited to begin planning our next B2P project.” 

    Located in a remote and mountainous region situated at an elevation of 10,000 feet, the Tetillas community is five hours by car from Cochabamba, which is the nearest sizeable city. To provide residents with vastly improved access to the nearest town, Cocapata, the 11-person Balfour Beatty build team constructed the footbridge spanning a deep and wide canyon over a river. The river lies deep in the bottom of a canyon, and prior to the new bridge, residents were forced to descend, cross the river, and then climb nearly 50 meters out of the canyon to reach Cocapata. The river runs fast and is extremely dangerous to cross without a bridge. 

    Residents of the small community are largely small-plot farmers of potatoes, beans and wheat. The closest schools, government services and health clinics are all 300 meters away in Cocapata, a walk that, due to the rugged, mountainous terrain, takes residents close to an hour in the dry season, but can take far longer when the road is wet and muddy. The closest market lies just outside of Cochabamba and members of the Tetillas community have to make it to Cocapata first to reach the road into Cochabamba with their goods. 

    To fully fund the trip, Balfour Beatty’s build team took on individual fundraising efforts, receiving significant support of over $63,000 from colleagues, family members and friends, in addition to receiving financial support from Balfour Beatty supply partners. Altogether, the team raised over $83,000 in monetary and in-kind donations to make the B2P effort in Tetillas, Bolivia a reality. 

    With the help of the company’s national strategic procurement team, Balfour Beatty’s build team received financial and in-kind support from title sponsors Performance Door, Shaw Inc., United Technologies, Heede, DeWalt, HD Supply, and Mack Packaging. Additional sponsors included Impendi, Trojan Labor, Waste Management, SteelFab, Schneider Electric and Rosendin Electric.

    Learn more about the build team’s experience and check out photos by visiting Balfour Beatty’s Bridges to Prosperity blog.  

    About Bridges to Prosperity
    Bridges to Prosperity is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization dedicated to the eradication of extreme poverty through rural infrastructure development focused on footbridges. Since its founding in 2001, Bridges to Prosperity has served more than 920,000 people in 20 countries with the construction of over 245 bridges. In addition to providing much-needed mobility, these bridge projects serve to teach footbridge construction to local communities and provide opportunities for leadership development and personal growth through international collaboration. Learn more at www.bridgestoprosperity.org.