Day 110/365 of Steel – Vizcaya Bridge

The Vizcaya Bridge
Fig 1: The Vizcaya Bridge

The Vizcaya Bridge is a transporter bridge that links the towns of Portugalete and Las Arenas in the Biscay province of Spain, crossing the mouth of the Nervion River. It is the world’s oldest transporter bridge and was built in 1893, designed by Alberto Palacio, one of Gustave Eiffel‘s disciples. The bridge, the first of its kind, was built between 1887 and 1893. The bridge was put into operation on 27 July 1893.

The Vizcaya Bridge
Fig 2: The Vizcaya Bridge
Author: Loggie-log

Universal Heritage
On July 13, 2006, the Vizcaya Bridge was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In Spain, it is the only monument in the Industrial Heritage category. UNESCO considers the bridge to be a perfect combination of beauty and functionality. It was the first to use a combination of iron technology and new steel cables. The bridge, still in use, is 164 meters long, and its gondola can transport six cars and several dozen passengers in one and a half minutes.

The Vizcaya Bridge Gondola Transporting Cars
Fig 3: The Vizcaya Bridge Gondola Transporting Cars
Author: Javier Mediavilla Ezquibela

The structure is made of four towers which are the pillars and stand on the river banks. The towers are braced by steel cables to the crossbeam. The upper crossbeam which lies horizontally, rests between two towers by 70 suspension cables. The structure is 45 m high and 160 m long.

In the final design it was decided to use two horizontal girders to support the rails, and these are supported by four pillars which stand on four towers which are situated on the river banks. The iron beams are riveted. During construction, 728.447 kg of iron was used, 10.629 rivets, 88.248 kg of steel cable and 21.041 bolts and nuts.

The Vizcaya Bridge
Fig 4: The Vizcaya Bridge
Author: Javier Mediavilla Ezquibela 

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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