Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Ameca - Puerto Vallarta Bridge Collapse Aug 31 2010

Early this morning the
Ameca Puerto Vallarta bridge
on Coastal Hwy 200 between Puerto Vallarta
and all points north,
fell into the Río Ameca.
Photo courtesy of Vallarta Escapes 
Authorities believe 3 cars fell into the river,
two people were rescued, and
a family is believed still missing.
Photo courtesy of Vallarta Escapes
 Since this bridge is the only thoroughfare
in or out of Puerto Vallarta to the north,
and Puerto Vallarta Airport,
everything has come to a standstill.
Well, except for the crafty and helpful
Mexican people.

A helicopter "bridge" is on standby for medical emergencies.

launched a water taxi.

How cool is that!

Here is their schedule in case you're in the area:

Free maritime transportation is being offered by Vallarta Adventures from the Paradise Village Marina to the main maritime port API today. The schedule is as follows:
11:00 am from Paradise Village Marina to main Maritime Terminal API in Puerto Vallarta (45 mins approx).
12:00 pm from API to Paradise Village Marina.
1:00 P.M. from the Paradise Village Marina to API.
2:00 P.M. from API to the Paradise Village Marina.
3:00 P.M. from the Paradise Village Marina to API.
4:00 P.M. from API to the Paradise Village Marina.
5:00 P.M. from the Paradise Village Marina to API.
6:00 P.M. from API to the Paradise Village Marina.

I think they deserve some free press for this.

For more information:
Vallarta Escapes

It's not hard to imagine a flotilla of pangas 
have rushed in to ferry people
back and forth as well.
Next come the taco stands, one or more blaring portable radios,
kids playing in the river, and cervezas.
 Some white plastic tables and chairs will appear,
hammocks will get hung, a dandy gaggle of mariachis will arrive
and the beach will become a fiesta.
And the panga rides will be free
but propinas will be GREATLY 

Because that's the way we do things here.


  1. An unconfirmed report is there is a 'new' bridge in the area under construction and it has been ruled safe enough to travel on. It has been opened and 2 way traffic is moving across it.
    I'll try to confirm.

  2. Consulate reporting there is still very limited access. Here is their report as of 8pm Aug 31:
    United States Consulate General Guadalajara

    Authorities in Bahia de Banderas, Nayarit, reported the partial collapse of the Ameca River Bridge on August 31, 2010. Consequently, non-official traffic from both sides have currently come to a halt. Authorities reported that the collapsed section was located on the “old” bridge, which leads from northern Puerto Vallarta to Nayarit (including Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, where our U.S. Consular Agency is located).

    The bridge heading from southern Nayarit to Puerto Vallarta can only be used by authorized official vehicles and some foot traffic. Civil Protection authorities from the State of Nayarit are evaluating the safety of the alternate bridge, which will remain closed until their further determination.

    The US consular agency in Puerto Vallarta is operating with limited staff at this time due to the bridge collapse.

    Free maritime transportation is being offered by Vallarta Adventures from the Paradise Village Marina to the main maritime port API
    Edited for space by MT

  3. From PV Pulse (http://www.pvpulse.com/en/puerto-vallarta-news/ameca-bridge-collapses):

    A big thank you to all those who are helping people get across the bay. Since 8:00 today, Vallarta Adventures, Bahia Alegre, Cruceros Princesa, Beach Boy, Bubu's Toy, and Vallarta Sol have been taking people across from Nayarit to Jalisco and back for free.

  4. There are a lot of bridge failures in Mexico. I cross all their bridges as quickly as possible. One day they will develop weight restrictions for vehicles. This is also one of the reasons so many roads are bad in Mexico - but those ones hanging over something collapsing ugh!

  5. I love your description of the natural flow of events by Mexico locals - no one sittin' on their hands there! So real I can hear the music!

  6. Sept 1 update from poster in beach town San Pancho, Nayarit:

    There has been an unusual amount of rain and the erosion from the Rio Ameca has been bringing a huge amount of debris down the river. Believe it or not but some of that debris has found itself on San Pancho's beach.
    The Ameca River is always moving at a pretty good clip but, at the moment, it's a raging torrent. According to "Bridgeman" on the allvallarta.com forum, when debris catches and remains on the supports of a bridge, it creates a scouring effect which undermines the supports.
    That bridge was forty years old. IMHO, it's amazing that it lasted this long.
    Yes, there are reports of a Bailey Bridge solution but many think that the distance is too great to achieve this.
    Yes, the south (and separate)lane of the bridge is less than 10 years old and has been opened to vehicular (cars) traffic...one lane in each direction...which is exactly the way it was for many years on the bridge that collapsed.
    If the bridge had to meet its demise in this manner, at least it happened in the middle of the night. This could have been soooo much worse if it had happened just 8 hours later during rush hour.
    There are still missing people and vehicles...a tragedy in and of itself.

  7. Can someone please let me know if I will be affected by this bridge collapse? I fly in tomorrow and we're staying at the Fiesta Americana...then fishing out of Marina Vallarta. I'm unfamiliar with the area...any input would be appreciated.

  8. Hi Austin,

    I'm not familiar with Fiesta Americana. If it's in PV you will be ok. I also think Marina Vallarta is south of the bridge. Your problem will be in going north of PV. The bridge is north of the airport area by a couple of kilometers and the airport is north of the greater Puerto Vallarta area.

    However, as said, there are services that are transporting people for free.

    Try asking your questions on these forums:

    Have fun in Mexico, be flexible, and you will have an adventure.


  9. Another example of why I love Mexico. My lunch buddies heard about the collapse and naturally assumed I would now want to stay in Oregon. And that is why they will never have fun. Thanks for binging home another piece of the country we love.

  10. Austin - not to worry - I just stayed at Fiesta Americana and the bridge collapse is north of the airport...unless you were planning to go up to Nayarit or Sayulita, or places north of the Marina, you will be just fine. Have fun!

  11. Calypso - Yep. You'd think. . .never mind.
    Steve - Bravo. And that is the difference between them and us, no?
    Gigi - Thanks.
    Emily - Thanks for the update.
    Austin - You should be here by now, hope you're having fun.