Vasco da Gama bridge is the ninth longest bridge in the world , situated near Lisbon , Portugal’s capital .It’s name in Portugal is Ponte Vasco da Gama . The bridge is a cable-stayed bridge and is the longest bridge in Europe with a total length of 17.2 km (10.7 miles) . It was constructed to reduce the traffic on 25 de Abril Bridge , another bridge in Lisbon , and connect some other motorways .
It’s grand opening was on March 29 , 1998 and is was finished in just 18 months – just to be ready for Expo 98 – which celebrated it’s 500th anniversary of the discovery of the sea route from Europe to India by Vasco da Gama .
Ponte Vasco da Gama description
– North acces roads
– North viaduct – 488m
– Expo viaduct – 672m
– Main bridge (including main span(420m) , side spans(203m) , cement pillars(150m) , free height for navigation in high tides(45m))
– Central viaduct
– South viaduct
– South access roads
There are six road lanes on the bridge , every one with a limit of 120 km/h (75mph) , excepting on section where the speed is limited to 100km/h (60mph) . Of course , on bad weather days the limits are lower . The number of lanes is expected to be enlarged to eight when the traffic reaches a certain daily average (authorities said 52,000).
Construction and Cost
The construction took only 18 months because the project was split in 4 parts , each one offered to a different company – thing that got even 3300 workers participating simultaneously to it’s construction .
The cost of the bridge was zero to the state because it was built in the build-operate-transfer system by Lusoponte , a private consortium that got a 40-year concession on the tolls of both Lisbon bridges. Lusponte is a giant on the market , it’s capital is 50.4% from Portuguese companies .
The Vasco da Gama bridge has a life expectancy of 120 years and it was designed to resist to 250km/h (155mph) winds . Due to it’s length, it was necessary to take in consideration the Earth curvature to avoid a deviation at either end of the bridge .
The tax is starting at €2.35 per passenger car and only the traffic into Lisbon is taxed , there is no tax for cars that use the Vasco da Gama bridge to leave Lisbon .