25th April Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril)

25th April Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril)

In August 2016, the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge celebrated 50 years since its inauguration. It occurred five months ahead of schedule. Since it has become one of the most iconic monuments of Lisbon as well as being a bridge of superlatives. Although the bridge spanned the river Tejo (Tagus) at its narrowest point in Lisbon, it still traverses more than a kilometre over water making it the largest suspension bridge in Europe and the 20th longest in the world.

History

The idea of bridging the river at this location first came to mind in the 19th century. I was to replace the ferry which linked Lisbon with the suburb of Almada on the opposite bank. It was only during the mid-twentieth century when technology allowed such endeavour. This proposed bridge would have to span 1013 metres across the estuary. In 1958 the plans were approved by Salazer's government, and so the bridge initially acquired the name of the dictator. Following the Carnation Revolution on the 25th of April, 1974 it was hastily renamed as a commemoration. The initial construction cost 2,200,000,000 Portuguese escudos or €27 million and took 25 years of collecting tolls to recover the money.

The construction was inspired by Leon Moisseiff's design of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and is even painted the same colour. Ponte 25 de Abril is actually 100m (300ft) longer. The Golden Gates design was emulated because of its ability to withstand seismic activity, a hazard that Lisbon shares with San Francisco. The bridge's foundations also hold the world record by going 80m (262ft) below the riverbed to stand on basalt rock. To allow shipping to pass under and access the docks of Lisbon, the deck of the bridge stands 70 metres above the water. The deck is held in place by cables attached to 191 metre-tall pylons. When taking into consideration the viaduct on the northern bank, the bridge is over two kilometres long. It originally carried traffic in four lanes. To accommodate increased capacity the bridge was expanded to six lanes during the 1990s. During which time the railway line was added to a new lower deck.
25th April Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril) History

Crossing the Bridge

Crossing the 25th April Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril)
The bridge can get very busy with commuters during rush hour time, albeit with efforts to control the traffic flow into Lisbon by omitting tolls for cars travelling South and out of the city. At the time of writing this, the toll is €1.75. On an average day, 150,000 vehicles cross the bridge.
Fertagus run services from Lisbon to the North and Setúbal to the South and traverses the 24 de Abril bridge to the Pragal train station.
• Lisbon - Setubal Timetables | Website

CP (Comboios de Portugal) trains which head South of Lisbon traverse the bridge:
Intercity (Intercidades) trains to/from Évora and Beja
• Linha do Alentejo: Timetable

Portugal's High Speed National Service
• Alfa Pendular Timetable

Trains of Portugal Website
Carris bus routes to/from Lisbon across the bridge to Centro Sul in Almada:
• Bus 753: Timetable

From here you can connect with Metro Transportes do Sul (MST) light railway services
Website and TST buses Website

Pillar 7 Experience (Experiência Pilar 7)

Experiência Pilar 7 (Pillar 7 Experience)
Experiência Pilar 7 (Pillar 7 Experience)
This attraction was inaugurated in time for the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the 25th April Bridge in 2016. The Pillar 7 Experience in Alcântara is housed within a pillar of the great bridge. The tour excites all senses starting as you arrive with the constant "hum" of traffic above and the shudder of a passing train. Inside the exhibits follow the journey of the history of its construction. On show are the support cables which hold the bridge together. A panoramic elevator whisks you 80 metres up to the road level to a panoramic viewing platform that provides an unrivalled view of the city and the river. Utilising modern multimedia devices, the visit ends with an optional immersive virtual-reality experience of parts of the bridge that are inaccessible and a call at the PhotoBooth so you can record this unforgettable moment.
October to April Daily: 10h00 - 18h00, May to September: 10h00 - 20h00

Adult: €6.00, Concessionary: €4.00, Under 5: FREE, Lisbon Card Lisbon Card: FREE

ONLINE TICKET | With this entrance ticket you can gain entry to the Pillar 7 Experience at your leisure. Buy online before you arrive to avoid queues and have the convenience of the e-ticket on your phone…


Getting There
Linha Cascais trains stop at the Alcantara-Mar train staion close by Timetable

Trains of Portugal Website
714, 727, 732, 751 or take the #15E (to Belém) tram from either Praça da Figueira or Praça do Comércio (Terreiro do Paço)
Contact Details
Pilar 7 da Ponte 25 de Abril, Avenida da Índia, 1349-028, Lisbon, Portugal.
38° 41' 59.7"N | 09° 10' 45.6"W | +351 211 117 880

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