Nicolás Avellaneda Transporter Bridge
Transbordador Nicolás Avellaneda – Buenos Aires – Argentina
The Nicolás Avellaneda transporter bridge, officially titled ‘Trasbordador del Riachuelo Nicolás Avellaneda’ or, simply, ‘Puente Transportador, is located in the neighbourhood of La Boca in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the only one of its kind conserved anywhere in the Americas. Opened in 1914, it remained in service until 1960. When it was on the point of being scrapped, it was finally conserved and restored. The bridge started operating again in 2017 after almost 60 years out of service.
In the early 20th century the neighbourhood of La Boca was one of the most prosperous in Buenos Aires, with a high level of business and industrial activity. Factories, cold storage facilities and shipyards proliferated on either side of the River Matanza-Riachuelo, with boats, ships and workers passing through continously.
In 1908 the company Ferrocarril del Sud was given a permit to build a new transporter bridge that would connect La Boca (City of Buenos Aires) with Isla Maciel in the municipality of Avellaneda (province of Buenos Aires). The cost – around 100,000 pounds sterling – would be entirely borne by the province of Buenos Aires.
Its iron structure was built in sections in England, which were then shipped to Buenos Aires and erected there; the assembly work took around 3 years. Only the foundations for the towers, submerged at a depth of 24 metres, were built locally. The bridge was opened on 30 May 1914 with the name of Puente Transbordador Nicolás Avellaneda, as a tribute to the ex-President of the Argentine Republic (1874-1880).
The bridge not only allowed the passage of people and vehicles, it also housed the tramway that previously crossed the river mounted on a barge.