The project objective is to improve the quality of life of the population of the Municipality of El Corpus by improving the road network, which will foster production activities and trade, reducing transportation costs of goods and products and providing access to basic health and educational services.
The project involves improving the infrastructure of a provisional Bailey bridge located over the San Juan River in the Municipality of El Corpus by converting it into a permanent one-lane bridge. The bridge will be 18.9 meters long, 4.6 meters wide and 5.80 meters high.
It is noteworthy that the existing abutments of the temporary bridge are in good condition. This was verified by technicians of the Association of Southern Municipalities (NASMAR, Spanish acronym) and also validated by the Honduran Social Investment Fund. The foundations of the bridge were built after Hurricane Mitch and have been functioning in recent years under extreme climatic conditions. However, the infrastructure has no evidence of damage and in order to ensure the functionality of the abutments the foundations will be further reinforced to prevent damage to the structure by water currents.
In order to ensure project sustainability, the Municipal City Hall of El Corpus committed itself to maintaining the bridge in an agreement dated June 5, 2009.
The ZONAF program funds will be allocated to partially financing the components of civil works, contingencies, supervision and monitoring. The funds from the Municipality of El Corpus and the NASMAR Association will be used to partially cover components of civil works and contingencies, and will totally cover work inspection, administrative expenses and technical studies, which have already been completed.
The project is a response to the road infrastructure needs of approximately 21,833 inhabitants of the Municipality of El Corpus and surrounding areas in the Department Choluteca, Honduras.
Currently, the bridge’s top slab, parapet and support boards used for the transit of vehicles and people are completely deteriorated and have caused accidents, forcing inhabitants to improvise ways of crossing the San Juan River under the bridge. This is a concern for the people from the beneficiary communities, particularly during rainy season when there is no way to cross the river, and they are forced to travel a circuitous route through the Municipalities of Concepción de María and El Triunfo to access health, educational facilities and markets, increasing their transportation costs.
The improvement of this bridge will promote productive and commercial development in the area, allowing farmers to move their goods to market, thereby invigorating the economy of this municipality and surrounding communities. In addition, children will be able to travel to their schools and inhabitants will be able to access the various regional and national health centers quickly, safely and at low cost.
It is important to mention that this Bailey bridge was temporarily installed in 1998 after Hurricane Mitch destroyed the wooden bridge that had provided transit for the inhabitants of the municipality and surrounding areas for years.
The execution of this project will have direct benefits to the target population by improving road infrastructure in the Municipality of El Corpus. This bridge will allow safe transit for beneficiaries, ensure adequate access to the project target area and foster commercial and productive activities, as well as allow transit to surrounding communities, schools and healthcare facilities.
It is estimated that with the execution of this project will directly benefit 21,833 inhabitants of the Municipality of El Corpus, including 10,746 women and 11,087 men. In addition, it will indirectly benefit approximately 24,406 inhabitants from the surrounding areas of the Department of Choluteca.
Most families in the municipality have limited economic resources because work sources are limited. The population’s main economic activity is subsistence agriculture. From November to April most of the population (mainly men) migrate temporarily to the Departments of Olancho and Danlí to pick coffee while others work on melon farms and in sugar mills.
According to the Human Development Report (HDR) in 2006 of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Municipality of Corpus has a Human Development Index of 0.598, with an illiteracy rate of 31.1%. 58.4% of the population lacks access to quality water and the Human Poverty Index is 34.7% with a monthly per capita income of US$ 115.00 or US$ 3.83 per day. Their houses are built of adobe with thatched roofs and dirt or cement floors.