What is viaduct?

Viaduct is a concept that comes from two Latin words: via (which can be translated as “road”) and ductus (which in our language means “conduction”). Viaduct, therefore, is a work developed by means of engineering that allows the crossing of the entire surface of a valley.

Similar to a bridge, an overpass can allow the passage of pedestrians or vehicles. This is why viaducts, in some cases, are highways (routes). There are also viaducts that are built for the installation of railways that allow the transfer of a train. In addition to the possibility of avoiding natural barriers thanks to these works, viaducts are also useful in cities to speed up traffic. By opening an airway for the circulation of vehicles, it is possible to decongest traditional streets and avenues.

We can find examples of viaducts all over the world. In the Chilean city of Collipulli, to cite one case, we find the Malleco Viaduct, opened in 1890 and declared a National Monument a century later. This railway viaduct allows crossing the Malleco River. One of the most important viaducts in Spain is the so-called Viaduct of Segovia, which is located in Madrid. Specifically, within the aforementioned city, it is located in the area of ​​Bailén and Segovia streets, close to the famous Royal Palace. Made in reinforced and polished concrete, this work, carried out in the 1970s, is the result of the work of the architect Francisco Javier Ferrero and the engineers José Juan Aracil and Luis Aldaz Muguiro. It stands out for its numerous arches, and it should be noted that before it there were two other previous viaducts, one from the second half of the 19th century and the other from the 1930s. It has a maximum height of 23 meters, it is a perfect example of rationalist architecture and it also incorporates exposed brick and concrete. It has become an emblem of the city, so much so that there are countless cultural manifestations in which it appears. Specifically, we can find references to him in works like these:

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-In the work “Luces de bohemia” (1924) by Ramón María del Valle – Inclán.

-In films like “Tacones lejando” (1991) or “Los Lovers Passengers” (2013) by La Mancha filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar.

-In numerous Spanish television series such as “Los serrano”. One of the curiosities surrounding this viaduct is that it has become the ideal place for suicides to kill themselves. It is established that in the 1990s there have been up to four suicides per month since then. In the French city of Aveyron, the Millau Viaduct stands out, whose inauguration took place at the end of 2004. Built on the River Tarn, this viaduct is crossed by over 10,000 vehicles every day.

Note that, due to their characteristics, viaducts resemble aqueducts, although these are used to transport water between two distant points. The Romans were the main builders of aqueducts.

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