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Toni el Suizo
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Toni el Suizo


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  • 1. The Life and Work of Toni Rüttimann “El Suizo” – “The Swiss” Presented by Luke Hansen
  • 2. Who is Toni “the Swiss”?  Toni the Swiss is a humanitarian civil engineer and bridge-builder  His mission: Improving the daily lives of impoverished populations by building bridges  With limited means, he spearheads ambitious projects throughout Latin America and now Asia
  • 3. How did Toni get started?  1987 – Voyaged to Ecuador after an earthquake; he saw the devastation after bridges were destroyed  Became determined to build sustainable pedestrian bridges throughout Latin America and the developing world  Developed a method to construct suspension bridges by hand with community involvement and donated materials
  • 4. Suspension footbridge in Kampong Pil, Cambodia; Completed 2001, 93 m span
  • 5. How does Toni choose sites?  Toni evaluates villages that are suffering for lack of a bridge.  Toni engages the communities in implementing bridge projects.  The personal involvement of community members ensures the success and long term sustainability of the project.
  • 6. Who has benefited from Toni’s bridges?  It is estimated that Toni’s bridges have improved the lives of over 600,000 people.  Toni has built bridges in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Cambodia, & Vietnam
  • 7. Toni & community members constructing a bridge in Latin America
  • 8. What types of bridges does Toni build?  Toni builds pedestrian suspension bridges.  Typical span of 50 to 100 m  The longest span is 264 m  Toni has constructed over 230 of these bridges
  • 9. Why suspension bridges?  Suspension bridges can be constructed relatively cheaply compared to other bridge types.  Bridge elements can be fabricated off-site and quickly erected.  Bridges can be constructed without heavy lifting equipment.
  • 10. San Miguel, Honduras; 80 m span
  • 11. Santa Barbara, Honduras 74 m span
  • 12. How much does a bridge cost?  Toni says his organization pays $500 for each bridge (mostly for transportation)  Other materials (wood, concrete) are provided by the communities (approx. $500 value)  Oil companies and armies sometimes provide transportation services
  • 13. What materials does Toni use?  Toni’s suspension bridges are constructed with steel pylons and steel cables.  Much of the materials are piping and cables that have been discarded by the oil industry.  All other materials are provided by the communities benefiting from the bridge
  • 14. Toni’s Implementation Method: Transportation & Labor  Transportation: Bridge materials are transported to the site by truck and then carried on the backs of helpers  Labor: Toni’s labor force comes from the surrounding community. People help by cutting wood, carrying stones, and more
  • 15. Toni’s Implementation Method: Timeline  Planning: Bridge layout is planned and marked  Excavation: Community members excavate for foundations and gather sand and stone for concrete  Tower fabrication: Bridge elements are usually welded off-site by Toni’s assistants
  • 16. Toni’s Implementation Method: Timeline  Erection: Towers are erected in foundations and set in concrete  Cables: The main cables are strung and hangers are clamped on.  Deck The bridge deck is assembled from wood cut by the community members
  • 17. Toni’s assistant Walter welding a bridge anchor
  • 18. Sources  Overview 20scope/Ruttimann.pdf  Kampong Pil Bridge:  “Building Bridges of Hope, Recovery, and Love”:  “Toni El Suizo”:  Sigus News: