Modern bridges are not just engineering design, but also amazing engineering masterpieces. The Uruguayans confirmed this by building an unusual circular bridge in the center of a small lagoon.
After all, the naked eye can see that such a project is significantly more expensive and technically complex than a conventional straight bridge between the banks?
Why and for what purpose did not the richest country in the world go to extra expense for a round bridge?
And the local taxpayers not only did not resent the extra costs, but also supported the project financially?
Overcome the lagoon
Uruguayans have long been plagued by one problem. Between the administrative centers of Maldonado and Rocha there was no stable automobile connection. They are separated by a lagoon. It's not only long to drive around, it's also not safe. The tides wash out the banks.
At first we decided to find a way out at the ferry crossing. But the Garson lagoon between Maldonado and Rocha is shallow. Only a ferry with a very small displacement could pass through it. The problem is that only 2 or 3 cars can fit on such a ferry.
The traffic flow between the two administrative centers is much more intense - up to a thousand per day. Such a ferry did not solve the problem, but only aggravated it with traffic jams and waiting. In bad weather it could not work at all.
Having reached an impasse, the local authorities turned to the government. The government took up the problems of Maldonado and Rocha and took control of the issue.
The authorities of the country turned to the famous architect Rafael Viñoly. In the world he is called the "Uruguayan dreamer. Vignoli adheres to the idea that a building should not only solve a specific problem, but also perfectly "fit" into the local environment and culture, and bring something completely new and valuable into the life of the country. The Uruguayan architect became internationally known when he won second place in a competition for projects to build on the site of the twin towers.
Vignoli decided to take a much broader look at the Garson Lagoon crossing than the construction of the bridge.
The architect designed a circular structure: the roadway, approaching the lagoon on an overpass along the shore, bifurcates to form a circle. On its halves the traffic becomes one-way, one lane in each direction. Because of the shape of the bridge, traffic on it is limited to 30 km per hour.
Of course, building a bridge "in a straight line" is much cheaper and easier. But even though Vignoli's project required additional costs, the Uruguayan government approved it. Moreover, after seeing the project, local developer Eduardo Constantini voluntarily invested in it. He gave $10 million, leaving the government to add only $1 million.
Under the control of the authorities, the project was fully implemented: the bridge is 250 meters long and 110 meters in diameter on 16 concrete pylons.
But why did the architect and the government choose such an expensive and unconventional form?
When the bridge is not just a bridge!
The round shape solves two problems at once.
The movement in a wide circle in one direction greatly improves traffic safety. Drivers slow down on the bridge. They are not blinded by oncoming headlights. It is much safer and more comfortable when driving over the sea, where there can be fog and storms.
The circular bridge offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the lagoon. Slow, safe, one-way traffic allows you to see all this beauty. The oncoming traffic doesn't obstruct the views.
In addition, there are viewing platforms on the bridge where the lanes diverge, where you can admire the views. Pedestrians can also access them. Pedestrian walkways are provided on the inside and outside of the traffic circle.
So the authorities solved two problems at once: the bridge created the necessary infrastructure, the traffic revived, which creates excellent prospects for the development of the economy of the region.
Many tourists went to the circular bridge. They not only promote free holidays in Uruguay with its natural riches, but also create additional jobs for cafes, hotels, gas stations before and after the bridge with their photos and videos.
That's why the authorities agreed to a more expensive "traffic circle" project. Advertising the beauty of the country is worth the expense.