By: CHRIS GRAEME
THE PROPOSED new Chelas-Barreiro road-rail crossing over the River Tejo would ruin the Lisbon skyline and cause river traffic chaos, according to studies from the Laboratório de Engenharia Civil (LNEC), the National Civil Engineering Laboratory.
The project would require considerable work at the Port of Lisbon so as not to seriously affect shipping entering and leaving the river.
Chelas-Barreiro has been, until now, considered the best location for Lisbon’s third river crossing bridge to support projected extra road and rail traffic to and from the new international airport.
It is better than Beato-Montijo, according to studies elaborated by LNEC, but according to a 2005 document leaked to the weekend newspaper Sol from the Lisbon Port Authority (Administração do Porto de Lisboa), the Chelas-Barreiro choice would cause a shipping navigation nightmare in the river.
A source at RAVE, the TGV high speed rail network company, which prefers Chelas-Barreiro, has admitted that negotiations are under way with relevant authorities.
It has reached an agreement with the Lisbon Port Authority to make compensation, help pay for dock works, and pay for a nautical study into ship manoeuvres.
The bridge would involve widening the right bank of the Tejo to create alternative shipping navigation channels.
Without these alterations, the future bridge would cause access difficulties for deep channel shipping in the Tejo estuary, forcing ships to undertake dangerous manoeuvres while the new Santa Apolónia cruise ship terminal project would also be at risk.
An analysis made by university professor José Manuel Viegas, who compared the Chelas-Barreiro and Beato-Montijo options, has estimated that the adaptation works would cost 300 million Euros.
The visual and environmental impact of the Chelas-Barreiro option would be “brutal” and “completely destroy the Tejo estuary skyline,” according to Cristina Castelo Branco, a landscape architect at the Lisbon Institute of Agronomy.
In her study, the specialist concludes that the bridge would “seriously affect” views to and from Amoreiras, Príncipe Real, Cais do Sodré, Parque Eduardo VII, Castelo de São Jorge, Terreiro do Paço, São Vicente de Fora and Santa Apolónia.
As an example, the view of and from the castle would be blocked by 5.8 kilometres of steel bridge with its 200 metre high pylon supports.
“The famous panoramic Lisbon skyline with all its historic monuments would be irretrievably ruined for ever by the bridge and not only affect the enjoyment of tourists but some 350,000 inhabitants,” Cristina Castelo Branco concluded.
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