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Chile assures Chacao bridge will be high enough for cruise ships

Chile assures Chacao bridge will be high enough for cruise ships
Chile's Ministry of Public Works confirmed a bridge across the Chacao Channel that links the island of Chiloe with the mainland will have adequate air draft for large cruise ships, according to news reports.

The Chacao bridge will have a vertical clearance of 55 meters, plus a 2.5-meter 'safety space.' This makes it high enough for ships like the 54-meter tall Golden Princess and Celebrity Infinity in most conditions, El Mercurio said, citing an official.

(However, Princess Cruises has announced it will deploy the larger Crown Princess in South America for the 2016/17 season, and that vessel's height is 59 meters.)

The original plan for the bridge had called for only 50 meters' average clearance. That would have been too low for 65% of the ships calling at Puerto Montt during the 2014/15 cruise season, according to El Mercurio.

Puerto Montt is located just north of Chiloe.

The navigation channel for the 2.8-kilometer bridge will be at least 600 meters wide.

The bridge across the Chacao Channel, a US$740m project, is expected to become operational in 2019.