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Ponte Vasco da Gama

Quando foi inaugurada, entrou diretamente para o Guinness World of Records

A ponte atravessa as tranquilas águas do Tejo, ligando Lisboa às regiões de Alcochete e Montijo, situadas na margem sul do rio.

Ponte Vasco da Gama vista desde o rio Tejo

A Ponte Vasco da Gama é uma das maiores pontes da Europa. Com uma extensão de 17,2 km, faz a ligação entre margem sul do Tejo ao lado norte, ligando a zona do Parque das Nações em Lisboa às cidades do Montijo e Alcochete, na margem sul do rio. Tem três faixas de rodagem em cada sentido.

O seu nome invoca o português Vasco da Gama, uma vez que foi o ano em que se celebrou os 500 anos da descoberta do Caminho Marítimo para a Índia protagonizada por este grande navegador, em 1498.

O engenheiro português Edgar Cardoso e o engenheiro americano Mark Watson projetaram a Ponte Vasco da Gama. A empresa portuguesa Teixeira Duarte assumiu a construção da ponte, num projeto planeado para durar 120 anos. Aquando da sua construção, os engenheiros tentaram criar uma ponte robusta, capaz de enfrentar intempéries e catástrofes. Assim sendo, concebeu-se para resistir a um sismo 4,5 vezes mais forte do que o terramoto de Lisboa de 1755.

Pessoas a almoçar na Ponte Vasco da Gama
Um almoço com 15.000 pessoas

Prémio no Guinness World of Records

Para a inauguração da nova ponte organizou-se um almoço de feijoada a 22 de março de 1998 que ganhou lugar no livro dos recordes. Nesse dia, a ponte Vasco da Gama entrou no Guinness World of Records como maior ponte da Europa. Além disso, a mesa onde se serviu a feijoada conquistou o prémio de maior Mesa do Mundo com 15.000 pessoas e 5.000 metros de comprimento!

Apesar da mega-feijoada ter sido o primeiro evento realizado na ponte Vasco da Gama, a inauguração oficial só aconteceu uma semana depois, a 29 de março de 1998. A cerimónia foi presidida pelo então presidente da República Jorge Sampaio e abençoada pelo padre Vítor Melícias. Dois meses depois deu-se a abertura da EXPO´98 que tinha como tema “Os oceanos – um património para o futuro”.

Durante 20 anos esta foi a mais longa ponte da Europa, ultrapassando os 17 km de comprimento, dos quais cerca de 12 km, se fazem sobre as águas do Tejo. Atualmente a ponte da Crimeia ocupa a posição líder, com mais de 18 km, construída sobre o Estreito de Kerch na Rússia e inaugurada em maio de 2018.

A construção da ponte Vasco da Gama foi um marco importante na história da cidade e é hoje um símbolo da modernidade e do progresso de Lisboa.

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