If conservatives bristle at building a bridge over a UNESCO World Heritage Site, just make it circular. This ring-shaped bridge by architect Rafael Viñoly will superimpose the Laguna Garzon, its circular design meant to minimize its environmental and visual impact by recalling a winding road—plus the fact that it uniquely affords veritable 360-degree views.
[Video courtesy Teledoce.]
The final cost of the project is $11 million, with the state providing $1.8 million. Argentinian real estate developer Eduardo Costantini, owner of high-end guesthouses Las Garzas in Rocha, will foot the remaining bill. The Uruguayan Ministry of Transport has eyeballed the prospect of a bridge over the lagoon since 1950, but the project did not start until May 2013.
Slated to connect the cities of Maldonado and Rocha when it opens in November, the bridge has the potential to mediate the flow of travelers and tourism dollars up and down the eastern seaboard. It will replace the current system of rafts that connect the two cities, which allows only two cars to pass at time, depriving Rocha of the development frenzy seen in Maldonado.
Statistics indicate generally favorable views of the project, with 81 percent of Rocha residents and 64 percent of Maldona residents who spoke positively about the bridge. Government estimates indicate that 1,000 vehicles will traverse the bridge daily, with an increase in those numbers during the peak summer months.
Scheduled to open in November, the bridge is well under construction. View the video above from Teledoce to see how it works.