Greek: Γεφυρα Ριου-Αντιρριου
What: The world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridge linking the Peloponnese to mainland Greece.
Total cost: 630,000,000 euros
Total length: 2,880 meters
Cost to cross by car: 12.20 euros
The Rio-Antirrio bridge is the World’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridge crossing the Gulf of Corinth near Patras, connecting the town of Rio to Antirrio, from the Peloponnese to mainland Greece. It was completed in 2004 in time for the Athens Olympic games and was funded by the Greek state funds, the consortium and loans by the European Investment Bank. Its official name is the Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge after the 19th century Greek prime minister who suggested the idea of building a bridge between Rio and Antirrio.
Before the bridge was built people would have to take the ferry to cross the sea which would take approximately 45 minutes to cross. The bridge was able to reduce that time to 5 minutes. The bridge has also given a boost to the local economy and has provided a better link to Western Europe and the Mediterranean.
It is widely considered to be an engineering masterpiece owing to several solutions applied to span the difficult site. These difficulties include a water depth of 65 m, insecure materials for foundations,seismic activity, the probability of tsunamis, and the expansion of the Gulf of Corinth by 30mm a year due to plate tectonics. It was able to master these difficulties through special construction technigues. The piers are not buried into the seabed, but rather rest on a bed of gravel which was meticulously leveled to an even surface (a difficult endeavor at this depth) allowing the gravel bed to absorb the energy of an earthquake. The bridge parts are connected to the pylonsusing jacks and dampers to absorb movement; too rigid a connection would cause the bridge structure to fail in the event of an earthquake.
“National Geographic Rio Antirio Bridge in Greece:
Grand opening of the bridge on August 7, 2004 by GEFYRA :