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Vizcaya Transporter Bridge | by A J Veitch
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Vizcaya Transporter Bridge

The Vizcaya Transporter Bridge connecting Portugalete and Las Arenas (Getxo) on opposite banks of the Nervion River between the river mouth in the Bay of Biscay and the city of Bilbao.


This was the world's first Transporter Bridge, built in 1893 and designed by Alberto Palacio to provide a means of linking the two towns across the river without disrupting maritime traffic to and from Bilbao and without the need to build a massive structure with long ramps.


164 metres long, the bridge is still in use and the gondola can transport six cars and several dozen foot passengers, making the crossing in about 90 seconds.


As well as crossing the bridge in the gondola it is also possible to travel up in a lift in the towers on either side and walk across the top of the bridge.


Only 23 bridges of this type have been built in the world and only 12 of these survive to this day (this includes one now converted to a lift bridge, and one which was designed as a transporter bridge but has not operated as one).


4 of these 12 transporter bridges can be found in the UK, the only one of these being in use at the time of posting this picture is the Middlesborough Transporter Bridge, built in 1911.


The transporter bridges at Newport (1906) and Warrington (1916) are both out of use, and the most recent - the Royal Victoria Dock Bridge in London (1998) - was designed to allow use as a transporter bridge but is only in use as a high-level footbridge.

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Taken on June 20, 2010