Dom Luís I Bridge

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Dom Luís I Bridge
Puente Don Luis I, Oporto, Portugal, 2012-05-09, DD 13.JPG
Coordinates 41°08′24″N 8°36′34″W / 41.139863°N 8.609336°W / 41.139863; -8.609336Coordinates: 41°08′24″N 8°36′34″W / 41.139863°N 8.609336°W / 41.139863; -8.609336
Carries Light rail line and pedestrians (upper deck)
General traffic and pedestrians (lower deck)
Crosses Douro River
Locale Porto, between the City of Porto proper and Vila Nova de Gaia
Official name Ponte Luís I
Design Two-hinged double-deck arch bridge
Total length 385.25 metres (1,263.9 ft)
Height 44.6 metres (146 ft)
Longest span 172 metres (564 ft)
Construction cost 369,000 escudos[1]
Opened 1886

The Dom Luís I (or Luiz I) Bridge (Portuguese: Ponte Luís I or Luiz I) is a double-decked metal arch bridge that spans the Douro River between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal. At the time of construction its span of 172 m was the longest of its type in the world.

The government held a competition for the construction of a metallic bridge over the Douro River on a site that was adjacent to an existing bridge that it would replace. Théophile Seyrig had engineered the D. Maria Pia Bridge project nearby, whilst working as a partner of Gustave Eiffel. He now took sole responsibility for the new, major Luís I Bridge. The construction was begun in 1881 and the bridge opened on 31 October 1886 (the upper deck; the lower deck opened in 1887).[2]

  • Total length 385.25 m
  • Weight 3045 tons
  • The arch measures 172 m in length and 44.6 m in height
View of bridge from north riverbank
Lower deck of the bridge in 2012
Aerial view of the bridge in 2015

Originally and for more than a century, the bridge carried road traffic on both decks. Along with other vehicles, electric trams crossed the upper deck from 1908[2] until May 1959, and trolleybuses crossed both decks from May 1959 until 1993.[3] In 2003, the top deck was closed to private motor traffic and since that time the top deck has been occupied by Line D of the Metro do Porto light rail system (which opened in 2005) and a pedestrian walkway, offering great views on the historic center of Porto, the Port wine caves of Vila Nova de Gaia and the river Douro.[2]

In 1982, the bridge was designated a cultural heritage "Property of Public Interest" (Imóvel de Interesse Público) by IGESPAR, the Institute for the Management of Architectural and Archaeological Heritage, a national agency.[4]

The bridge often is confused with the nearby Maria Pia Bridge, a railway bridge built nine years earlier and located a kilometre to the east. However, although they bear a strong resemblance to one another, the earlier bridge has only one deck.


  1. ^ Manuel de Azeredo (December 1999), The Bridges of Porto - Technical Data, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, retrieved 12 August 2014 
  2. ^ a b c Costa, Patrícia (2005). "Ponte de D. Luís (IPA no. 00005548)". SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico (Information System for Architectural Heritage) (in Portuguese). pt:Instituto da Habitação e da Reabilitação Urbana. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  3. ^ King, B. R.; Price, J. R. (1995). The Tramways of Portugal (4th ed.). London: Light Rail Transit Association. pp. 42, 44, 47. ISBN 0-948106-19-0. 
  4. ^ "Ponte de D. Luís" (in Portuguese). IGESPAR. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 

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