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Luiz I Bridge opens to the public at the end of this month

The rehabilitation of the lower deck of Luiz I bridge is nearing completion. The contract works for this historic landmark of the city of Porto will allow no further interventions to be needed, at least for the next 30 years

The work, which began in October 2021, "exposed the memory of three distinct centuries crossing Porto and Gaia, in which the wear and tear of time was felt on the steel of Théophile Seyrig, Gustave Eiffel's collaborator who designed the crossing," reads the news item on Sapo 24.

"Only after stripping the paint here from the bridge could we see that there were more anomalies than we were counting on, and that were foreseen in the design. We had to review it and put more sheet metal, more angle brackets, and this of course delays the work," said Joana Moita to Lusa, engineer responsible for overseeing the contract under the responsibility of Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP), quoted by the same source. "The tops of the beams were in very poor condition, as were the support devices," she added, explaining that this meant they had to be replaced "entirely" and thus postponed the deadline for completion of the work by six months.

"By now those works are fully done, and now we are running towards the end of the month, if everything helps," including St. Peter, who, according to the engineer, "hasn't helped much," especially in the field of painting.

The last works are taking place on the Gaia side, since "all the northern part, in Porto, is already done. "We are finishing the reinforcement works there, we still have the transition slab done, the installation of the oleodynamic system, and we are finishing with the painting", explains Joana Moita.

Despite the interventions, the "kids from Ribeira" continued to throw themselves off the bridge deck, on the Porto side, which they know "like the soles of their feet.

"It was very complicated, because we were always afraid, both for their safety and for the safety of the staff. Not only did they throw themselves off the bridge, but they vandalized some parts of the construction site," he revealed, "recognizing that 'this is normal' there in the area" and it is a "tradition."

According to the same source, the memories of an old construction technique forced the use of 'specialized labor' to execute it, in an undertaking that will also be a journey into the future, where new vibrations will be felt".

"This structure has greater rigidity, in other words, it will be more difficult for us to feel the vibrations of the bridge," explained Joana Moita, who also revealed that there will be "information panels warning the population whenever the bridge is crossed by a crowd" and an "oleodynamic device, for longitudinal displacements, in other words, [for] sudden braking of vehicles or an earthquake. "That apparatus brakes those displacements and makes the deck stay in its original formation," he clarified.

It is planned that this intervention "will last so that a new one will not be needed for 'at least 30 years or more'."

It should be noted that the total cost of the rehabilitation of the emblematic bridge Luiz I, with about 140 years of history, is 4.2 million euros, as opposed to the 3.3 million planned, due to the "extra" interventions required and, also, "due to the raw materials crisis, linked to the war in Ukraine.


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