Vasco da Gama Bridge
How it started
What is surprising is that not a single cent was allocated from the national budget for the construction of the Vaçu da Gama Bridge and its subsequent maintenance. But the developer company was given the right to make both bridges in Lisbon tollable, which initially led to many strikes, road closures, and the loss of the current government in elections.Interesting facts about the construction:
- The total length of the bridge is 17.2 km, of which 10 go over the river;
- 100,000 tons of steel 730,000 tons of concrete were used;
- The highest span is 50 meters above river level;
- 3,300 people were involved in the work;
During construction 11 people died when the construction cradle fell from a height of 45 meters (April 10, 1997).The construction of the bridge consisted of two phases: preparation and construction.
Each of them took only 1.5 years. The bridge was built in just over three years.Many factors were taken into account in the meticulous design: from the seismological stability of the structure, to the spherical shape of the Earth's surface.
Thanks to all calculations, the Vasco da Gama Bridge can withstand wind speeds of 250 km/h and earthquakes several times greater in magnitude than currently known.
The Tagus Estuary, in the area where the monumental bridge crosses the water surface, is a protected area.
About 50 thousand birds (flamingos, ducks, etc.) come here every year for wintering, so environmental nuances were also taken into account in the design. For example, the night lighting of the bridge is done in such a way that the directional light of the lamps hits the river as little as possible.
The grandiose construction culminated in an equally grandiose celebration that made it into the Guinness Book of World Records three times.
- On March 22, 1998, a table 5050 meters long was set up on the bridge, seating 15,000 people;
- For the meal, Portuguese chefs prepared the world's largest feijoada (a dish of beans and different kinds of meat);
- After which 1 liter of detergent was used to wash 15,000 plates.
Official traffic on the bridge began a week later, after the mass festivities - March 29, 1998.
The Vasco da Gama Bridge today
Today about 52,000 cars drive over the bridge every day. The maximum allowed speed is 120 km/h.
Since its opening, the bridge has been a favorite of Portuguese street-racers. Fans of adrenaline and high speeds, squeeze the maximum out of their "pimped" cars.The roar of motors and police flashers sometimes break the calm rhythm of the traffic.
Forgetting about the physics and the weather, racers often cause terrible accidents and get into the traffic news.
Be careful when driving on the bridge, especially at night.
The construction of the bridge and the Expo District has changed the urban skyline dramatically. Today there is a green park under the bridge with mowed lawns, various trees, bicycle paths, a café, a skatepot, and bridges that offer a panoramic view of the bridge abutments.