November 24, 2008

Bridges and Engineering Structures

A bridge is a form of cultural expression, a form of sculpture with a utilitarian function; sculpture for its lines, utilitarian for its practical purpose - connect two shores or two disconnected points.
Arrabida Bridge Oporto
The Arrabida Bridge was one most innovative projects of the last century, not only in Portugal but throughout the world, however its history and building tell a tale of controversy and courage. During construction, its 270-metre span (which for same time held the world record for comparable reinforced concrete structures) and single arch attracted the attention of engineering experts from around the world, who flocked to Portugal from all corners of the earth to witness the collapse of this engineering feat designed by Edgar Cardoso. In the event, to the sheer astonishment of the era's best reputed civil engineers, the bridge did not collapse and still standing today. This is the story of the Arrabida Bridge, completed in 1963 at the peak of Edgar Cardoso's international prestige.

25 de Abril Bridge, Lisbon
Inaugurated on 6th August 1966 and a landmark of Lisbon ever since, the 25 de Abril Bridge is a road and rail suspension bridge connecting the city of Lisbon to the city of Almada and a vital element in the country's transport system. Its original name, Salazar Bridge, was changed to 25 de Abril shortly after the revolution of 25th April 1974. At the time of its construction, the total cost of the bridge came to 11 million Euros. On the date of this inauguration, this impressive bridge was the fifth biggest suspension bridge in the world and the largest outside the USA. Forty years on, it is still the 66th largest in the world.

Santa Clara Bridge, Coimbra
Over the centuries, several bridge have been built at similar locations across the river Mondego in Coimbra. The first was built at the order of King Afonso Henriques in 1132; four centuries later, King Manuel ordered another, and it is this latter bridge that can be seen in engravings and photograph. Demolished in 1873, plans for the present day construction, a metal bridge with lower deck, began in 1946. The new Santa Clara Bridge over Coimbra's river Mondego, an undisputed emblem of the city Coimbra, was inaugurated on 30th October, 1954.

Amiza de Bridge, Minho/Galicia
The new bridge over the river Minho, connecting Vila Nova de Cerveira and Goian in the Galician municipality of Tomino, was inaugurated in June 2004. Named the 'Ponte da Amizade' or Bridge of Frendship, it stands as a symbol of relations between the Poruguese and Spanish. Built of pre-stressed reinforced concrete and 430 metres long, it was the fulfilment of a dream long cherished by the local populations, complementing the road link between Minho and Galicia.

Moisteiro Bridge over the River Douro, Oporto
Anyone traveling along the banks of the river Douro in the Albufeira do Carrapatelo region of cruising along the Douro on a tourist boat cannot fail to be struck by the rare beauty of the Mosteiro Bridge. The elegance and lightness of its remarkable concrete structure made almost diaphanous by a fine concrete truss structure are accentuated by the curved deck that extends over the river supported at either end by the pillars of the old bridge. Built by Empresa Industrial do Norte, it was dynamited by the monarchists in 1919, restored in 1927 and rehabilitated by Estradas de Portugal (Portuguese Road Administration) in 2008.

Bridge over the River Arade, Portimao
Inaugurated on 12th September, 1991, the bridge over the river Arade is remarkable feat of engineering. A cable-stayed bridge with one central span and two side spans, it extends 842 metres, supported only at its two ends and suspended entirely from its towers. It is built totally of prestressed reinforced concrete and stays of steel strand. It plays a pivotal role in the economic development of the Arade estuary zone, revitalizing a geographic area of huge strategic and economic interest and a zone of unique beauty.

Stamp Issue: 2008-10-16

1 comment:

Secção Filatélica Associação Académica de Coimbra said...

Bridges in Coimbra, Portugal: