10 years ago | Vasco de Gama Bridge, Lisbon, Portugal | 2nd June 2013
Ten years ago, I drove over the longest bridge I’ve ever been across – the 7.67-mile Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon. We’d spent a week on the Algarve but flown in and out of Lisbon, meaning we’d needed to drive the 170 miles each way – which I was, of course, quite happy to do…
I know it’s quite a nerdy thing to admit to but I like to keep a note of ‘records’ I’ve notched up on my travels – a sort of personal Guinness Book or Records of places I’ve been and seen. Highest elevation? Dercum Mountain summit, Colorado (11,640ft). Lowest elevation? Bombay Beach, California (-223 ft). Most Southerly point? Phillip Island, Australia. Tallest building? ‘Top Of The World’ Observation Deck, South Tower, World Trade Centre, New York City (1,310 ft). Biggest stadium? Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia (100,024).
Sometimes you know the journey will involve a record-breaking element, as was the case the first time we crossed the Millau Viaduct in France (890 ft above the valley floor) – the bridge’s reputation preceded it. On this occasion, the significance of our surroundings was lost on us. Happily, because of the internet, it’s possible to learn all about things like that, after the fact.
As long as it is, most of this bridge is a ’causeway’ style bridge, built across lots of supporting pillars, with only one wider-spanning section, to allow marine traffic to cross beneath. For this reason, this bridge would never appear on any list of longest ‘single span’ bridges – considered by many to be the ‘sexier’ of the bridge record categories. Most of those notable examples are now in the Far East, although I have been across two in the top 20: The Humber Bridge (10th in the list at 1,410m) and the Golden Gate Bridge (19th at 1,280m).
* Wikipedia describes the Vasco de Gama Bridge as ‘the second longest bridge in Europe, after the Crimean Bridge’. Not only does that make it the longest bridge in the European Union but, between October 2022 and February 2023, the longest on the continent, while the Crimean Bridge was damaged as part of the ongoing Ukraine War.
You must be logged in to post a comment.