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ABBAS IBN Firnas Bridge

Flying without Wings - A dramatic bridge crossing the Guadalquivir river at Cordoba

Home > Projects >Abbas IBN Firnas Bridge

     An Ayesa Project     


Dragados S.A. (Group ACS)


Cordoba, Spain

Completion Date


Capital Cost:





Listen To the Project Soundbite Here:
The Ministry of Development was looking to improve access to Cordoba airport by building a bridge across the Guadalquivir River, thus linking the A4 and A-45 roads to the main airport route. The project was awarded to the leading Spanish contractor, Dragados to construct the bridge. Dragados appointed Ayesa to provide the technical assistance to design and build the IBN Firnas bridge.  The structure was designed by the founding member of Ayesa, José Luis Manzanares Japón.

The bridge is 365 meters long and 30.4 meters wide and carries 6 traffic lanes of 3.5 metres each. The metre-wide shoulder area permits vehicle speeds of up to 100km/h. It's a stunning piece of engineering design - the abstract design of the bridge simulates taking flight with arches shaped like giant steel wings. It is fitting that the bridge was dedicated to a legendary inventor/engineer dating back to 810AD named Abbás Ibn Firnas, who was one of the first men to have attempted flight from the Arruzafa Tower in Cordoba.  Underneath the bridge, there is a walkway for bicycles and pedestrians with a plaque dedicated to the Spanish engineer/inventor.


The bridge has become a landmark and the original design is by the legendary engineer and founder of Ayesa, José Luis Manzanares Japón, who has delivered numerous iconic bridges throughout Spain.  The Abbás Ibn Firnas is a Tied-Arch Bridge with steel reinforced concrete composite using almost 6 million kg of steel. The structure has two spans of 132.50 m and three approach spans on the right bank that adds over 100 meters to its length. The most important and singular aspect of the structure is the design of the mixed concrete and steel arches that open into two hexagonal tubes braced from the central pier to the abutments and the arrangement of the struts made up of closed cables in the form of a “Y” creating a spatial structure of great slenderness and stiffness, a three-dimensional structure that contains the traffic within, and creates a dramatic urban space over the Guadalquivir River.

"The innovative design reduced the amount of steel required for the arches and the use of self-compacting concrete eliminated the need for scaffolding and considerably reduced costs in terms of the required manpower."

The metallic arches are in hexagonal sections, with 2m thickness and provide a vertical arrow of 34.5m. The pier and buttresses are made from reinforced concrete with 1.5 diameter pile foundations. In the bridge axis, the arches combine to become one structure stretching to the central pillar. The pier and the buttresses are made from reinforced concrete and with 1.5 m diameter pile foundations. Closed cable suspenders in 130mm Z of 130mm diameter and the tension level is performed by dismantling the base plate. The Ayesa Team also project managed the construction of the Abbas Ibn Firnas Bridge, and this included the following.

Construction process:
• Creation of access routes and fill.
• Creation of cement and support structures.
• Placement with metallic board crane for provisional and final support.
• Placement with crane of the drop-off arches in provisional towers on the shoring.

Dismantling of the arch and placement of the suspenders:
• Placement of the deck on the metal girders.
• Dismantling the deck up to transferring the weight of the structure composed by the metallic arch-plate and suspenders.
• Cementing of the upper slab with concrete board.
• Placement of the superstructure and the decorative sculpture on the pier.


Pile Foundations

1,900 lm


12,040 m³

Reinforcing Steel

1,540,000 kg

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