The Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge is one of Lisbon’s most notable landmarks as it spans the River Tagus at the narrowest point. This massive bridge closely resembles that of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the date name remembers the Portuguese Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974.
The suspension bridge connects Lisbon, on the north bank, with the commuter districts of Alameda on the south bank. The bridge is a distinctive landmark of Lisbon and crossing the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge makes a fantastic entrance to Lisbon.
Lisbon’s Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge closely resembles the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francesco. The comparison is correct as the consortium that constructed the American bridge also constructed Ponte 25 de Abril. Along with the similar appearances, both bridges are located in regions of high possible seismic activity and their designs are almost identical. To ensure solid foundations of the Lisbon suspension bridge the south tower extends for 79m below the water level deep into the solid bed rock.
The road level is 70m above the River Tejo allowing cruise and container ships to pass easily beneath and enter the docks of Lisbon. The total length of the Ponte 25 de Abril is 2.3km. The consortium which built the bridge was headed by The United Steel Export Company who employed approximately 3000 workers on the site.
The Ponte 25 de Abril bridge was completed in 45 months and inaugurated on the 6th August 1966, this was 5 months earlier than originally estimated. The total project cost the Portuguese government $32million and it took 25 years of toll collections to cover the construction costs.
The bridge was originally named Salazar Bridge (Ponte Salazar) but after the bloodless revolution in 1974, the name was changed to the date of the revolution and symbolically the brass name of the bridge was replaced.
With the increase of commuters from the housing region of Alameda, the bridge went under extensive expansion in 1995, increasing the number of lanes from 4 to 6. A train line was added below the road level in 1999 and is the only rail route south out of Lisbon.
The toll to cross the Ponte 25 de Abril is €1.45 for cars. The fee is paid when travelling northbound into Lisbon. There is no toll station when heading southbound in an attempt to limit traffic. The toll used to be free during August but since the financial depression struck Portugal the toll is applied all year round. Even with the additional capacity, the bridge grinds to a halt during rush hour and an average of 150,000 cars cross the bridge each day.