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Vasco da Gama Bridge

Project description

In 1998, after 3 years of construction, the 17.2 km long Vasco da Gama Bridge near Lisbon (Portugal) was opened. The cable stayed bridge, with approach viaducts on both sides, spans the Tejo river. It is Portugal’s largest construction of all time and it is the longest bridge in Europe. To maintain unhindered navigation of ships in the Tejo river, the main section of the crossing was constructed as a cable stayed bridge with an 825 m span elevated 45 m above the river. A six lane motorway runs over the bridge with the capacity to retrofit the bridge in the future to create 8 lanes.

Delivered products

For the Vasco da Gama bridge mageba delivered pot bearings as well as TENSA®MODULAR expansion joints type LR8 and shock absorbers. In order to provide the two main suspension towers of the cable stayed bridge with the highest level of safety from ship impact, the modular expansion joints are fitted with mageba’s patented fuse box system and the towers are equipped with 8 shock absorbers. The fuse boxes are constructed with a predefined fracture location, so that, with a sudden extreme impact, the damage to joints, roadway and the counter bearings would be limited to an absolute minimum. A requirement of the design was to ensure that a maximum of two of the six lanes would be out of service during earthquake, allowing the passage of emergency vehicles. Under normal conditions the mageba shock absorber acts like a spring, but under earthquake conditions the flexible capacity of the absorber would be exceeded and an energy absorbing effect (up to 2150 kN) would then be activated.

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TENSA®MODULAR expansion joint in service

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Inspection of a modular expansion joint

Ключевая информация




max. 2‘150 kN






Cable-stayed bridge


825 m