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Photographer's Note

Ponto Final

While enjoying an after dinner bica on the quay terrace of the fine Ponto Final restaurant in Cacilhas we saw the sky turn red and the sun approaching the April 25 bridge. I envisaged the ultimate graphic sweet spot for it and waited for it to happen after ordering another round of bicas. This is the result – my second sunset on TE. This time not an industrial but a graphic one ;-).
Behind the bridge is Belem and the harbour.

The next day we would be aboard the high speed ‘Alfa Pendular’, taking us over the bridge and on to Faro and the Sotavento.

The April 25 bridge is the last bridge before the Tejo reaches the Atlantic ocean.
It took the New Yorker Steel International Inc and its co-contractors 4 years to build this suspension bridge at a cost of 32 million US dollars. It shares quit a lot of design characteristics with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It was inaugurated in 1966 as the 'Salazar Bridge', the dictator who had it built. Until then the lowest fixed link on the river was at Vila Franca de Xira, some 32 km. to the north of the city, where the General Carmona road bridge had been built in the 1930s.
It was later renamed to commemorate the bloodless 'Carnation Revolution' that happened on the 25th of April 1974.

It has two decks. On the top 5 lane deck the car, busses and lorries pass and on the lower deck the trains do. From the outset the bridge was designed to carry a railway on the lower deck. In summer 1999 the lower railway deck was ready for use after major preparatory works which included the fitting of additional cables and the widening of the roadway to six lanes, as well as re-painting of the bridge. Due to the xtra weight the bridge sank some centimetres. The "retro-fit" of the railway track was the largest such project undertaken on a bridge in the world.

The reason there are so much years before the work on the railway retrofitting started:
-Traffic congestion getting worse – it took commuters sometimes 1,5 h to cross the Tejo. By 1996 the bridge was absorbing, with increasing difficulty, 137,000 vehicles a day, carrying 50,134,000 passengers per annum
-Government funding and public choice – priority was given to other projects
-Discussion about a separate railway bridge - time was spend discussing the alternative – a high capacity dedicated railway bridge with a better integration in the regional railway and subway network. The Seixal and Amada municipalities opted for this. Still, in 2005, it is common to see queues on either side and across the bridge, despite the relief afforded by the construction of the Vasco da Gama road bridge further upstream. The building of a new railway bridge is again contemplated.


This is for the time being the last posting of the Lisboa part of the travelogue.

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Additional Photos by Bert Hoetmer (bertolucci) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1928 W: 122 N: 4345] (14052)
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