March 2018: 20th Anniversary of the Opening of the Vasco da Gama Bridge
20 years ago on March 29, the longest bridge in Europe was opened to the public. The Vasco da Gama Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the Tagus River in Parque das Nações in Lisbon, Portugal. Its total length, including viaducts, is 17,185m. This cable-stayed bridge contains 192 cables, and it took 3,300 workers working simultaneously to complete the project in 18 months. The bridge’s public opening coincided with the World’s Fair that celebrated the 500th anniversary of Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the sea route from Europe to India.
The Vasco da Gama bridge contains 730,000 m3 of concrete. Concrete is made from fine and course aggregate bonded together. The most common forms of concrete are lime-based such as Portland cement or calcium aluminate cements. Bridge cables are generally made from thousands of bound steel wires as steel has extremely high tensile strength.