Vasco da Gama Bridge

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Vasco da Gama Bridge
Ponte Vasco da Gama 25.jpg
"Merging in the Mist,"
Coordinates 38°45′32″N 9°02′19″W / 38.7589°N 9.0387°W / 38.7589; -9.0387Coordinates: 38°45′32″N 9°02′19″W / 38.7589°N 9.0387°W / 38.7589; -9.0387
Carries Six road lanes of  IP 1 -  A 12 
Crosses Tagus River
Locale Sacavém, north of Lisbon (right bank)
Municipality of Alcochete (left bank)
Official name Ponte Vasco da Gama
Maintained by Lusoponte[1]
Design cable-stayed, viaducts
Total length 17.185 kilometres (10.678 mi)
Width 31 metres (102 ft)
Height 155 metres (509 ft) (pylon)
Longest span 420 m (1,378 ft)
Designer Armando Rito
Construction begin February 1995[2]
Construction end March 1998[2]
Opened 29 March 1998
Toll 2.70 per passenger car (up to 11.70 per truck) northbound only
Vasco da Gama Bridge is located in Portugal
Vasco da Gama Bridge

The Vasco da Gama Bridge (Portuguese: Ponte Vasco da Gama; pronounced: [ˈpõt(ɨ) ˈvaʃku dɐ ˈɡɐmɐ]) is a cable-stayed bridge flanked by viaducts and rangeviews that spans the Tagus River in Parque das Nações in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.

It is the longest bridge in Europe (including viaducts),[3][4] with a total length of 17.185 kilometres (10.678 mi), including 0.8 kilometres (0.50 mi) for the main bridge and 11.5 kilometres (7.1 mi) in viaducts. The Bridge is served by 4.8 kilometres (3.0 mi) of dedicated access roads. Its purpose is to alleviate the congestion on Lisbon's other bridge (25 de Abril Bridge), and to join previously unconnected motorways radiating from Lisbon.

Construction began on February 1995; the bridge was opened to traffic on 29 March 1998, just in time for Expo 98, the World's Fair that celebrated the 500th anniversary of the discovery by Vasco da Gama of the sea route from Europe to India.


The bridge carries six road lanes, with a speed limit of 120 km/h (75 mph), the same as that on motorways, except on one section which is limited to 100 km/h (60 mph). On windy, rainy, and foggy days, the speed limit is reduced to 90 km/h (56 mph). The number of road lanes will be enlarged to eight when traffic reaches a daily average of 52,000.

Bridge sections
  1. North access roads
  2. North viaduct - 488 m (1,601 ft)
  3. Expo viaduct - 672 m (2,205 ft); 12 sections
  4. Main bridge - main span: 420 m (1,378 ft); side spans: 203 m (666 ft) each (total length: 829 m or 2,720 ft); cement pillars: 150 m (492 ft)-high; free height for navigation in high tides: 45 m (148 ft);
  5. Central viaduct - 6.351 km (3.95 mi); 80 pre-fabricated sections 78 m (256 ft)-long; 81 pillars up to 95 m (312 ft)-deep; height from 14 m (46 ft) to 30 m (98 ft)
  6. South viaduct - 3.825 km (2.38 mi); 45 m (148 ft) sections; 84 sections; 85 pillars
  7. South access roads - 3.895 km (2.42 mi); includes the toll plaza (18 gates) and two service areas

Construction and cost[edit]

Vasco da Gama Bridge

The $1.1 billion project was split in four parts, each built by a different company, and supervised by an independent consortium. There were up to 3,300 workers simultaneously on the project, which took 18 months of preparation and 18 months of construction. The financing is via a build-operate-transfer system by Lusoponte, a private consortium which receive the first 40 years of tolls of both Lisbon bridges. Lusoponte's capital is 50.4% from Portuguese companies, 24.8% French and 24.8% British. As of the June of 2014, the toll is 2.65 per passenger car and up to €11.55 per truck in the August of 2013, going northbound, into Lisbon. There is no toll for southbound traffic.

The bridge has a life expectancy of 120 years, having been designed to withstand wind speeds of 250 km/h (155 mph) and hold up to an earthquake 4.5 times stronger than the historical 1755 Lisbon earthquake (estimated at 8.7 on the Richter scale). The deepest foundation piles, up to 2.2 m (7.2 ft) in diameter, were driven down to 95 m (312 ft) under mean sea level. Environmental pressure throughout the project resulted in the left-bank viaducts being extended inland to preserve the marshes underneath, as well as the lamp posts throughout the bridge being tilted inwards so as not to cast light on the river below.

View from atop Vasco da Gama Tower.
An aerial view of the bridge

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Vasco da Gama Bridge". Lusoponte. Retrieved 2011-03-04. 
  2. ^ a b Vasco da Gama Bridge at Structurae
  3. ^ Parkstone Press (2010). Bridges. Parkstone International. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-84484-773-0. 
  4. ^


External links[edit]