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Photographer's Note

The River Tagus (Rio Tejo) at Lisbon is approximately 2km wide and until 1966 there was no bridge across from the city to the southern bank. Until then the lowest fixed link on the river was at Vila Franca de Xira, some 32 km. to the north of the city, where the General Carmona road bridge had been built in the 1930s.
The Ponte 25 de Abril was opened in 1966 at a cost of 32 million US dollars. Originally, it was named the Ponte Salazar (after the then prime minister/dictator of Portugal, António de Oliveira Salazar). This bridge was renamed the 25th April Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril) after the 1974 Portuguese Revolution, which started on that date, so as to remove any reference to the former dictator. This suspension bridge is often likened to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA, and, indeed, it too was constructed under North American management, beginning in 1962.
The bridge is 2.278km long between its anchorages with the main span being 1.013km long. The bridge originally opened (1966) as a four lane road bridge with a central barrier but the barrier was removed in 1990 to accommodate a fifth lane. The bridge leaves western Lisbon at high level above the Alcântara valley and makes landfall at Almada on the southern bank of the river, adjacent to the Cristo Rei monument where from this photo was taken Cristo Rei. The bridge, when built, had the longest central span of any European suspension bridge. However, both the more recent Humber Bridge (UK) and Bosphorus Bridge are amongst those that are now longer.
The bridge crosses the Tagus at a height of 70m. and its foundations on the Lisbon side, at 79m. deep into basalt rock, were also a world record at the time of their sinking.

From the outset the bridge was designed to carry a road and a lower railway deck and it would have been the longest such bridge had this been implemented at construction. However, it was only in summer 1999 that the lower railway deck was ready for use after major preparatory works which included the fitting of additional cables and the widening of the roadway to six lanes, as well as re-painting of the bridge. The "retro-fit" of the railway track was the largest such project undertaken on a bridge in the world. The rail deck is below the road carriageway and was completed by hauling construction materials up to it, to avoid disruption of road traffic. The two-track bridge crossing now links central Lisbon to Setúbal and the south of Portugal.

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