Puente de la Mujer, Buenos Aires
Following my first visit to Argentina in September 2003, I was very pleased to launch an overseas section of this website. My first entry was the Puente de la Mujer (or "Woman's" bridge) in Buenos Aires. The barrio of Puerto Madero is Buenos Aires own "docklands" area in which the old docks, warehouses and other abandoned commercial structures are currently being redeveloped for trendy new housing, hotels and restaurants. Accounts of the bridge do not seem to make any specific reference to the new Millennium but as it was opened in December, 2001, it is obviously close enough to a Millennium Bridge to qualify. Indeed, one commentator has described the new bridge as the "Obelisco of the 21st century", a reference to the previous most striking landmark in Buenos Aires, the colossal 67-metre high obelisk which stands athwart the Avenida 9 de Julio. The Avenida 9 de Julio is another marvel worth mentioning - at 140 metres wide, with 20 traffic lanes divided between 4 carriageways, it is reputed to be the widest avenue in the world.
The so-called "Woman's bridge" is a swing bridge for pedestrians and cyclists on an eastern continuation of the alignment of the Avenida de Mayo, the principal west-east thoroughfare in the city. The bridge traverses dock number 3, just north of the mooring of the decommissioned Argentine naval sail training ship Presidente Sarmiento. The design by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava is intended to epitomise the tango, that central feature of life in Buenos Aires. Of cable-stayed construction, the cables are supported from an inclined pylon, 39 m high. The overall length of the bridge is 160 m and width 5 m. The movable span of the bridge is 106 m long and can be turned through 90 degrees inside two minutes, and retained in position when open by a separate pier. The bridge gates close automatically when the wind speed exceeds 70 km per hour. The bridge was built in Spain and transported over in sections. The total 6 million US$ cost of the project was met by the Alberto Gonzalez Foundation. Unfortunately, after only a couple of years the bridge was closed to pedestrians, as the City Council declined to accept responsibility for maintenance, rather hoping that the Alberto Gonzalez Foundation would also shoulder this burden as well. Fortunately, the situation must have been resolved by the time of my return visit to Buenos Aires in December 2006. I took the opportunity on this return visit to secure a greatly improved set of photographs in much better light.
The best source of information in English is the Galinsky website. Structurae also gives a short summary in English.
View Buenos Aires in a larger map