Work is complete on 516 Arouca, which at 516 metres long is now the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world*.
516 Arouca hangs 175 metres (574 ft) over the Paiva river in the eastern part of Arouca UNESCO Global Geopark, Portugal. It connects the escarpment of the Aguieiras Waterfall and the area of the Paiva Gorge, two of the 41 geosites of the Arouca Geopark. Close by are the Paiva Walkways (Passadiços do Paiva), the Aguieiras waterfall, Alvarenga Bridge, and Areinho and Vau river beaches.
As with the the Paiva Walkways, the Arouca municipality hopes the the new bridge, co-financed by European Funds, will draw visitors and further enhance the economic activity of this region, while at the same time helping to promote the preservation of Paiva river and safeguard of the biodiversity of the area.
The bridge is designed as a hybrid between a Tibet-style footbridge with a sagging deck, and a traditional suspension bridge with support towers. For those of a nervous disposition, the steel deck is a transparent mesh.
The designers, Itecons, have produced a video featuring the construction… by civil engineers with nerves of steel and absolutely no fear of heights!
The Arouca municipality is planning a ‘soft’ opening at the end of this month (October 2020), and says there will be a fee, as yet not fixed, to cross it.
* The previous title-holder is the 494-metre Charles Kuonen bridge in Switzerland.