A third crossing over the Tagus River in Lisbon is in the works by the Portuguese government, with a 2050 general estimated completion time. This is part of a multidecade National Railway Plan proposed to strengthen the train network and to boost more efficient, cleaner transportation of people and goods.
The proposal, first released last November and approved by the Cabinet, was then subjected to a public debate with hundreds of comments and suggestions and is now in a phase of strategic environmental assessment by the National Civil Engineering Laboratory (LNEC). After that, it will go to Parliament to become a law.
But the third bridge is just one part of it. The plan aims to expand and modernize railway infrastructure in the whole country, focusing on high-speed routes both nationally and internationally; connecting major cities with urban centers of regional relevance; and electrifying the totality of the railway system.
Planning For t
The two bridges crossing the Tagus River in Lisbon: 25 de Abril in the west, built-in 1966; and Vasco da Gama in the north, built in 1998, are now falling short to meet the transportation demands of the Portuguese capital. In the middle of a growth boom and international popularity surge, Lisbon is now looking to expand transportation and make it more sustainable, and to better connect with the rest of the country; as well as to link its north and its south more efficiently.
That is what Minister of Infrastructure Nuno Santos says this national railway plan aims to do in the next three decades, not only for the capital but also at a national level, as reported by Diario de Notícias. It is time to place railway infrastructure at the center of national debate and to position the electric train as a greater contributor to sustainable climate transition.
In fact, the plan looks to increase railway use from 4.6% to 20% in passenger transport; and from 13% to 40% in goods transport. High-speed routes will also be a priority, in order to make faster connections from north to south and link the country with neighboring Madrid in Spain and with Galicia up north.
The proposal is part of a bigger infrastructure plan to improve national and international mobility and to better integrate Portugal with the Iberian and European network.
Lisbon And Portugal Booming
Portugal is thus catching up with Spain and other European countries with top-tier railway transportation networks. All this as the Iberian country has been booming in the past few years, with a 2022 GDP growth of 6.7%, the strongest in 35 years, as reported by Reuters.
In addition, Portugal has recently become a premier destination for work, investment, and leisure, and not only for its over 300 sunshine days per year. In 2022 it was named the best tourist destination in Europe, an award it has won in five of the six past years, for its historical sites, cuisine, wine, beaches, flourishing tech environment, and overall quality of life.
Right now, Lisbon is becoming one of the fastest-growing tech ecosystems and it is attracting workers from different industries internationally. So the new bridge can be seen as a link not just across the Tagus River, but also as a sign of opening with the rest of the world.