Vasco da Gama Bridge. Portugal
Vasco da Gama is the longest bridge in Europe. This cable-stayed bridge crosses the Tagus River in Parque das Nações in Lisbon, Portugal. The length of the bridge is 17.2 kilometers. Its official name is Ponte Vasco da Gama.
The purpose of creation of such grand structure was to facilitate the road traffic for the other bridge of Lisbon, which is called the “25 de Abril Bridge” (25th of April Bridge).
March 29, 1998 there was a grand opening of the bridge. This event was dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the sea route from Europe to India by the great navigator Vasco da Gama. It was planned specifically for the World Exhibition “Expo 98”.
Construction of the Vasco da Gama Bridge took a year and a half and the labor of more than 3 300 workers; it was achieved by four independent building consortiums. Another year and a half was spent on the preparatory work. It was worth it. The bridge can withstand the force of the wind with a speed of 250 km / h. In addition, it will withstand an earthquake of about 4.5 times stronger than the famous Lisbon earthquake in the distant 1755 (it was estimated to be a magnitude 8.7 on the Richter scale).
The bridge has six-lane vehicular traffic with a speed limit of 120 km/h, but sometimes during peak hours, more two lanes are added. In bad weather, the speed is limited to 90 kilometers per hour. The transit is payable if you are moving in a northerly direction (to Lisbon). You will have to pay a tax for passage for about 2 euros for passenger car and up to 11 euros for freight transport. If you move backwards, you don’t need to pay.
The important point. Design of the bridge was planned taking into account the impact on the environment. The bridge was built as far as possible to the second coast in order to minimize the interference into natural environment of the river Tagus. Moreover, the lighting of the bridge has also been specially designed. At night, the directional light of powerful searchlights doesn’t illuminate the waters of the river.
Often people compare this bridge with Hangzhou Bridge. The length of 36 kilometers makes it the longest ocean-crossing bridge in the world. Although Vasco da Gama is twice shorter, it looks more elegant and organically.
The architects are the real masters of their craft. And on a clean background of the Tagus River the bridge looks fantastic.