Basarab Bridge, a landmark of the new Bucharest

by Victor Grigore, Webphoto.ro

This long bridge was a much needed practical solution for the notorious traffic problem of Bucharest. Though it also crosses the small Dâmbovița river, its aim was to help cars get over the railroad lines that go to the central station (Gara de Nord), close to city center. The railroad lines divide the city in its north-western part, and only a pedestrian overpass was available at Basarab Station.

Former mayor, Traian Băsescu, who later became president, came up with the solution of a bridge that would close the inner ring of traffic. His solution was much debated and halted for political reasons, but was in the end finalized during the mandate of one of his successors and rivals, mayor Sorin Oprescu.

As was the case with almost all public investments in Romania, the project also raised questions about the final price of 255 million euro. But after years of restrictions on the construction site, and a price increase of over four times, the locals declared themselves happy with the new passageway, that gives an air of modernity to the old Bucharest.

This is the widest city bridge in Europe, with 45,4 m at its widest point. The total length is 1,900 m, with descending lanes on several boulevards: Orhideelor, Calea Giulești, Nicolae Titulescu, Grozăvești. There are two distinct components to this bridge. The first crosses over the existing smaller bridge over Dâmbovița Channel and has a rounded supporting structure.

The second segment is larger and crosses over Dinicu Golescu Boulevard and over the railroad lines, to descend on Nicolae Titulescu Boulevard. From here, one can have easy access to Victora Square, city center or the Airport (Henri Coandă, Otopeni). The distinctive feature of this bridge segment are the tension cables that support the bridge from the main pillars. 3000 cables are stretched from the two 84 m high pillars, grouped in 60 white thick bundles.

The bridge is accessible by car and also has a tramway line and a station with elevator access. The tramway station is covered in a round shaped plastic glass, that forms a see through tunnel. The bridge was finalized in the summer of 2011.

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