|
6
Octavio Frias de Oliveira Bridge

Sky Walking

Pedestrian bridges may not be as long as vehicle or train bridges, but they can still be impressive. The Campo Volantin Footbridge in Bilbao, Spain, uses a graceful arch to suspend a glass deck above the Bilbao River. In Malaysia, the Langkawi Sky-Bridge, less than 6 feet (1.8 meters) wide, allows visitors to enjoy a 360-degree view from the top of Mount Mat Cincang. And in Vancouver, British Columbia, you can walk through the treetops of a lush rainforest as you cross the 450-foot- (147-meter-) long Capilano Suspension Bridge.

São Paulo, Brazil, just down the coast from Rio de Janeiro, is known for its extravagance. It's a cosmopolitan city, with a flourishing nightlife and a lively arts scene. It's also Brazil's financial hub -- home to some of the wealthiest people in the country. Because of these qualities, it's not surprising that the paulistanos (São Paulo inhabitants) designed and built one of the most unique bridges in the world.

Named after the Brazilian media mogul Octavio Frias de Oliveira, the cable-stayed bridge spans the Pinheiros River, which bisects the western side of the city. The bridge is only 2,953 feet (900 meters) long and not particularly high at 453 feet (138 meters), but its design features two curved decks that cross each other through an X-shaped supporting tower. The two roadways, suspended from the tower by 144 cables, link the São Paulo districts of Brooklin and Real Parque.

Motorists crossing the bridge at night enjoy a spectacular show courtesy of LED lights. The lighting system enables bridge authorities to illuminate the X-shaped tower with different colors for commemorative dates or for special events. But it's not all about special effects. A series of 140-watt bulbs shine on the roads to ensure the safety of drivers.

Innovative safety features also define the next bridge we're going to cover. To get to it, we need to travel out of South America, through Central America and into the United States.

|