25 de Abril bridge, Lisbon Portugal

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História da Ponte 25 de Abril
versão em português
25 de Abril bridge aerial view
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Night view of 25 April Bridge in Lisbon

The 25 de Abril Bridge is one of Lisbon's most graceful attractions. In a city where ancient sights dominate the landscape, this bridge is also a relatively new attraction. The bridge was completed in 1966, and since it continues to serve the daily needs of Lisbon's citizens and visitors, it seems likely that this bridge will continue to evolve.

The idea of constructing a bridge over the Tejo River between Lisbon and suburban Almada had been considered long before the construction of the current bridge. Unfortunately, the river's considerable expanse made it more convenient and cost effective to continue to use a ferry service between the two communities.

An attempt in the 1930s to build a bridge over the Tejo at Lisbon had fallen through, but the government approached the problem with more commitment in the 1950s. A bid for the project submitted by a consortium working under the supervision of the United States Steel Export Company was finally accepted in 1960 and construction began two years later.

Upon first seeing the 25 de Abril Bridge, many people are struck by its similarities to California's Golden Gate Bridge. In actuality, although the color of Lisbon's bridge matches the Golden Gate's hue, the bridge's structure is more similar to that of the Oakland Bay Bridge. When it was completed in 1966, the bridge was one of the longest suspension bridges in Europe at 2,278 meters. It had a single level about 70 meters above the waterline that included four lanes for automobile traffic. Heavy usage of the bridge soon made it clear that four lanes were not enough. However, it was a few decades before the bridge was expanded to include six lanes for cars and a lower level that accommodated trains.

At its initial dedication, the bridge was named Ponte Salazar in honor of the dictator who was in power at the time. This changed with the peaceful revolution that occurred in 1974 and began on the 25 of April. Known as the Carnation Revolution, the movement began as a military coup against the dictatorship. Citizens participated in acts of civil disobedience and the regime was toppled without a shot being fired. During the subsequent celebration, carnations were placed into gun barrels and on military uniforms, providing the revolution with its name. The metal placard on the Ponte Salazar was quickly removed, and it was not long before the name was changed to the 25 de Abril Bridge.

Today the bridge usefully serves the city and all who visit there. In addition, it is also a subject of many beautiful photographs. Visitors to Lisbon may capture images of the 25 de Abril Bridge from many vantage points across the city.


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