The history of Ponte Pênsil
The Suspension Bridge (Ponte Pênsil in Portuguese), originally called D. Maria
II Bridge, was a suspended bridge that connected both sides of the Douro River,
between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.
Its construction was begun on May 1841 to celebrate the Jubilee of Queen Maria II, but it became known as Suspension Bridge.
The construction ended approximately two years after the works had begun. With 15-meter high masonry pillars, 150 meters in length and 6 in width, the bridge ensured better road traffic between both margins and replaced the very fragile Barges’ Bridge (Ponte das Barcas, in Portuguese).
To test its resistance, it supported more than 105 tons, being that this weight was composed of approximately 100 barrels of water. It operated for 45 years, until it was replaced by Luís I Bridge, built right next to it.
After Luís I Bridge was inaugurated, the suspension bridge was disassembled in 1887. Currently, we can observe the pillars and the ruins for the military guards’ house that enforced order and the regulations of the bridge, as well as the toll collection system.