VASCO DA GAMA BRIDGE
Elegance across the river
29th March 1998, two months before the opening of Expo ’98, saw the inauguration of what was then Europe’s longest bridge: the Vasco da Gama Bridge, extending for a total of 17.2 Km, of which 12.3 Km are on suspended decks. One of the largest public works performed in Portugal, its construction commenced in July 1995, after almost three years of planning. During this stage, 25 technicians from four different companies created over 9,000 drawings for the bridge, planned down to the minutest detail.
By linking Sacavém to Montijo over the Mar da Palha basin, this construction was shrouded in controversy due to the environmental impact it would have on the habitat of several species, some of them protected. Various different measures were implemented, including noise barriers and animal behaviour monitoring.
The bridge won the Ibero-American Biennale Architectural and engineering award in the year 2000, and is notable for its beauty and proximity to the river, with a minimum height of 8 metres at its lowest point. Its most remarkable feature is the deck suspended by architraves. The curved layout of the bridge, which was so designed in order to cross the possible paths of large vessels, makes it even more attractive and offers a panoramic view for those who cross the bridge but also for those looking at it from a distance.