Brazilian President Emilio Medici opened and inaugurated one of the world's longest bridges on Monday (2 March).
Brazilian President Emilio Medici opened and inaugurated one of the world's longest bridges on Monday (2 March). It will connect with Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi across the Bay of Guanabara.
The bridge extends for 11 kilometres (7 miles) - nearly 8 kilometres (5 miles) over the waters of the bay and just over 3 kilometres (2 miles) over land. There are an additional 2000 metres (yards) of approach roads.
There are longer bridges in the United States, but none surpasses this one in structural volume. The 300-metre (yard) central span hanging 70 metres over the bay's navigation channel is the largest unsupported box girder system ever built. It was built by two British construction companies.
Estimates of the cost of the bridge vary. The top estimate - 300 million U.S. dollars (130 million pounds sterling) - would make it the most expensive bridge in the world.
President Medici rode across the bridge in the same vintage Rolls Royce car that carried Britain's Queen Elizabeth when she laid the bridge's cornerstone in 1968. The President was aided in the inauguration by Minister of Transport, Mario Andreizzi. The bridge is named after the late Brazilian President Costa e Silva.
The President was welcomed by massive crowds as he drove across into Niteroi. The bridge - which will not only link the two cities but provide the last link in an interstate highway system - has been eagerly awaited because it will relieve congestion in the city centre.
Total traffic flow is expected to be 5 1/2 million vehicles this year and there is already concern about traffic jams on the approach roads. The toll payment for each crossing will be 10 cruzeiros (66 pence sterling).