Segovia Viaduct Viaducto de Segovia, Madrid
One of the most important bridges of Madrid is the Segovia Viaduct (Viaducto de Segovia). The viaduct's upper level connects the old Moorish section of the city to the royal centre spanning a narrow but deep valley which leads down to the Manzanares River.
The simplistic styled viaduct which tourists will cross today is the third reincarnation of the bridge having been constructed in 1978 with the first only constructed in 1874. The Segovia Viaduct had the dubious reputation of being the most used suicide location in Madrid, with at its height 4 people killing themselves here per month - fortunately measures have been introduced to reduce this.
Segovia Viaducto Tourist Information
The upper level of the Viaducto de Segovia continues the Calle de Bailén that leads from the Royal Palace south to the old district of Vistillas. Beneath the Segovia Viaduct is the Calle de Segovia and it is from this road that the best views of the three arched viaduct are seen. The Viaducto de Segovia has a maximum height of 23 meters and a total span of 35 meters. The viaduct consists of three arches each of which is formed from four arches. The simplistic form of the structure is visually striking from the lower level while the upper road provides great views over Madrid.
Tourist Information Segovia Viaducto
The southern side of the Viaducto de Segovia is the oldest district of the city but the importance of the northern side grew with the construction of the Palacio Real. The valley carved out by the stream of San Pedro (now the route of Calle de Segovia) was a natural divide to these two districts and suggestions for a connecting viaduct had been proposed since the 17th century. Originally a bridge (the Segovia Bridge) crossed the small stream which was constructed in 1584. This bridge provided access but involved a steep climb on both sides of the valley.
The first plans for a viaduct where drawn up by the Italian architect Juan Bautista Sachetti in 1736 but it took another 150 years before the start of project. The main driver in 1872 was the complete remodeling of the city which involved the demolition of many buildings including the oldest church in Madrid, the Santa Maria de la Almudena. The first section of iron was installed on 31st January 1872 and the competed Viaducto de Segovia was a combination of iron and wood designed by engineer Eugene Barron.
The bridge was opened on the 13th October in 1874 and was instantly loved by Madrid's population but the experimental design started to display massive defects in less than 50 years. In 1931 the government of the Second Republic held a competition to design the replacement viaduct. The winning project was of rationalist style and the project was completed in 1934. The winning project was characterized by the use of polished concrete and massive granite piers. The replacement viaduct was expected to last for a century but became a frontline during the defense of Madrid in the Spanish Civil War. The battle damaged bridge was reopened in 1942. Traffic volumes dramatically increased in the 60s with the Calle de Bailén being a main artery of the city.