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Challenges, secrets and records of the world’s greatest bridges

Suspended or cable-stayed, viaducts or railway bridges, here are the grand projects revolutionizing mobility.

Can a bridge revive the economy of a territory? History tells us yes. When in 1933 American President Theodore Roosevelt celebrated the beginning of the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, no one could have imagined that the bridge – the longest in the world at the time of its inauguration in 1937 – would become one of the most effective tools of the American New Deal, contributing to the country’s recovery after the severe crisis of the 1920s.

A bridge, like all large infrastructure projects, accelerates the economy but – just like the Golden Gate – it becomes a strategic connecting artery, favoring the modernization of territories. Over its more than one hundred years of history, the Webuild Group has built over 1,000 kilometers of bridges, from the suspension bridges over the Bosphorus to the new Brăila Bridge spanning the Danube in Romania. These are engineering excellences that have rewritten the rules of engineering from Italy to the United States, from Argentina to Australia, and to Turkey, but above all, they have improved the quality of life for millions of people.


The most recent addition is the Brăila Bridge, inaugurated a few days ago in Romania, on the banks of the Danube, a few kilometers from a town of 250,000 inhabitants that thrives thanks to trade assured by the great river. Brăila is a flagship of modern engineering, starting with its numbers: it is, in fact, the second-longest suspension bridge in continental Europe, with a central span reaching 1,120 meters and two towers standing at 192 meters, 12 meters taller than the Gherkin, the famous London skyscraper designed by Norman Foster.

But Brăila is not the only great suspension bridge built by Webuild. The Group has left its mark on both the Second and Third Bosphorus Bridges, the two giants that dominate Istanbul. The Second has a span of 1,090 meters and a massive structure that required 600,000 cubic meters of rock excavation and 140,000 cubic meters of concrete for its construction, while the Third set two world records at the time of its inauguration: the widest suspension bridge with the tallest towers in the world. The two towers reach a height of 318 meters from the water level, higher than the Eiffel Tower. The overall width of 59 meters allows for the presence of two roadways with four lanes each and a central double-track railway corridor. Completed in 2016 with a central span of 1,408 meters, the Third Bosphorus Bridge dominates the bay of Istanbul and supports the growth of the Turkish metropolis.

In 2016, Webuild completed the construction of another major suspension bridge in Turkey: the Osman Gazi Bridge. The bridge is 3,000 meters long, crossing the Izmit Gulf at its narrowest point and dominating the bay with a central span of 1,550 meters, even longer than the historic 1,282-meter span of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This makes it the seventh-largest bridge in the world in terms of the length of its main span. The Osman Gazi Bridge has reduced the crossing time of the bay from over 2 hours to just 6 minutes.

Italy, the great viaducts of the Southern Italy

Calabria is one of the regions in southern Italy that has been isolated from the central and northern parts of the country for centuries, partly due to its geographical formation characterized by steep mountains overlooking the sea.

In the construction of the Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway, which connects the region to Campania and from there to the rest of Italy, the construction of viaducts capable of crossing these mountains and allowing the highway to continue its course through a tunnel was essential.

The Sfalassà Viaduct was built precisely for this purpose and remains one of the strategic projects for the completion of the Salerno-Reggio Calabria route. This incredible infrastructure overlooks the mountains, allowing the highway to cross a deep valley of hundreds of meters. Despite its total length of 893 meters and a central span of 376 meters, the record of the structure lies in its height from the ground, reaching 250 meters, equivalent to the height of the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt.

Similar to Sfalassà, the Favazzina viaduct also serves the purpose of crossing a cliff. The structure consists of two parallel cable-stayed bridges, one for each direction, floating above the mountains of Calabria. The total length of the viaduct is 440 meters, while the pylons reach a maximum height of 150 meters.

In Italy, Webuild has also constructed the San Giorgio Bridge in Genoa, built after the collapse of the Morandi Bridge. Designed by architect Renzo Piano, the bridge is 1,067 meters long and consists of 19 spans and 18 reinforced concrete piers measuring approximately 40 meters in height. The bridge is equipped with the most innovative technologies in the sector, including robots that travel from one end to the other, cleaning the structure and constantly monitoring its data to ensure the highest levels of safety.

South America, a bridge for four countries

The Rosario Victoria Motorway Bridge is a unique project not only due to its length but also because of its incredible impact on South America. The bridge, spanning 4,098 meters (including long access spans), facilitates commercial traffic among four countries: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.

The bridge connects the cities of Rosario and Victoria, crossing the Paraná River valley, which is a vast river surrounded by countless tributaries. The bridge is part of a 59.4-kilometer road link, significantly reducing the distance between the two cities from a previous route of 320 kilometers.

California, from the Port of Long Beach to America

In California, there is a bridge that plays a crucial role in the transportation of goods throughout America. It is the bridge that connects the mainland to the Port of Long Beach, a natural hub for large merchant ships crossing the oceans. Approximately one-third of all goods reaching the United States by sea arrive at this port, highlighting the importance of a modern and efficient connection infrastructure. That is why the Webuild Group was entrusted with the construction of the Long Beach International Gateway, the bridge (inaugurated in 2020) that replaces the old Gerald Desmond Bridge, increasing the pace of transportation.

The new bridge is just under 2,700 meters long, with a main span of 305 meters and towers reaching almost 160 meters in height. This modern infrastructure was completed without interrupting the operation of the old bridge, allowing the port to continue handling its containers.

Skytrain, the record-breaking viaduct in Australia

A viaduct can make a metropolitan line exceptional. This happened in Sydney, Australia, where Webuild constructed the Skytrain Viaduct, an elevated bridge stretching 4.5 kilometers, representing a section of the Sydney Metro Northwest, the new metropolitan railway line that traverses the city for a total length of 15.5 kilometers.

The uniqueness of this viaduct, which earned it the 2018 “Project of the Year” award from the American magazine Engineering News-Record, lies in being the only case of a curved cable-stayed bridge built for a subway. Another excellence for a project that has enabled the residents of Sydney to travel quickly and sustainably.