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Marechal Carmona Bridge turns 70 with promises of improvement

The Marechal Carmona Bridge, the first crossing of the Tagus in the Lisbon region, turns 70 years old – it was inaugurated on September 30, 1951. The date was to be marked yesterday with a symbolic crossing on the river, and a procession and a parade with the participation of campinos. But they were canceled due to the reinforcement of covid-19’s control measures.

70 years after the inauguration of the bridge, Infraestruturas de Portugal, in partnership with the Vila Franquense municipality, is working on a “process of public lighting recovery, conservation and general maintenance of the construction, as well as the rehabilitation of decorative lighting in the bridge’s arches ” for a “new perspective”, promises the mayor of Vila Franca de Xira.

According to Fernando Paulo Ferreira, nowadays the bridge “is the only connection from north to south over the Tagus River, in the Lisbon region, which is completely free”. A total of 15 thousand vehicles pass through this infrastructure daily, with “a quarter of them being commercial vehicles”.

Marshal Carmona, popularly known as the “Vila Franca de Xira Bridge”, was initially thought of in the 1920s, but only became a reality on December 30, 1951, when it was inaugurated by the former President of the Republic, General Francisco Craveiro Lopes, and by the then President of the Council of Ministers, António de Oliveira Salazar. The project, at the time, was the “largest and most expensive contract awarded by the Portuguese State” and one of the most important structures built in Portugal in the 50s of the 20th century, costing around 130 thousand contos (approximately 648,437.21 euros).

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“An old aspiration come true”, read the front page of the Diário de Notícias of December 31, 1951, the day after the date it was inaugurated. “The bridge of Vila Franca was solemnly inaugurated yesterday in front of the enormous joy of the populations of Ribatejo and Alentejo”, was the main title of the DN edition.

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