25 of April bridge, Lisbon

  • [Post. 6-8-1966], Lisbon (Portugal)
  • 1 black and white photo, paper;
  • 23,2×16,0 cm
  • Portuguese National Archive of Torre do Tombo
  • Ref Code: PT/TT/SNI/ARQF/DO-014-002B/52478

The city of Lisbon lies on the banks of the vast estuary of the river Tagus. Lisbon occupied the northern (right) side of the river for many centuries, while the sparsely populated south (left) side of the river was used for agriculture and later as an industrial area.

Travel between the two sides was very limited, with infrequent boat crossings the only way to traverse the estuary.

By the twentieth century, the growth of Lisbon had created a demand for urban development on the south side, which would require the construction of a bridge. Government commissions began analysing the issue during the 1930s, but it would take until the early 1960s before design and construction were entrusted to a consortium headed by the United States Steel Export Company

Construction started in 1962, and the opening of the bridge was greeted by an enthusiastic public on 6 August 1966. Finally, the two sides of the river were connected.

The bridge over the Tagus remains a remarkable piece of engineering. With a total length of 2,277 meters the bridge was, at the time of its inauguration, the largest suspended steel structure in Europe and the fifth largest in the world. It has one of the longest trusses in the world, with both main towers rising to about 190 meters above water level, with a free sailing height of 70 meters ensuring large ships can access the port of Lisbon.