Members of the public tend to be a bit of a nuisance to explorers, restrictive, intrusive and interfering. They are usually the only thing standing between you and a clean, and undetected entry. Usually their lingering presence is simply the result of a curiosity towards you, as standing in the rain at two in the morning outside a derelict factory is somewhat abnormal. Thankfully, most will shrug you off as a weirdo and carry on, as they have more important things to be dealing with.
The problems start when you become faced with someone who doesn’t have anything better to do. White knights. Those who have been brain washed by the state and media, convinced they are saving the world against the “evils of terrorism” by thwarting your night of photography. Its these people we pray we avoid when we set out at night, they don’t listen to reason, are quick to judge and generally respond with aggression, as if you have somehow ruined their evening. So more often than not you are left standing for hours, waiting for that one opportunity when the area has cleared of all would be prying eyes. Sadly, there are some situations where this will never happen.
The Salazar Bridge, located in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, was built by the American Bridge Company, who were also responsible for San Francisco’s Bay Bridge and New York City’s Hell Gate Bridge. Construction began on the 5th November 1962, and lasted for forty five months before completion on the 6th August 1966, at the cost of $2.2 Billion Escudos ($32 Million Dollars) and four lives.
The bridge underwent several expansions in later years, with extra road lanes being added and a most notably a new rail platform beneath. To accommodate the extra resulting stress, extensive structural works took place during the mid 90′s resulting in the addition of a second set of suspension cables and the supports being reinforced. In 1974, not long after the Carnation Revolution, the bridge was renamed “25 de Abril” (25th of April) the day the revolution took place. This remains its name to this date, but for the sake of ease, for this article I have retained its original name.
I mentioned earlier the Salazar is the tallest steel suspension bridge in Europe, 190.47m to be exact. To put this in perspective, the Salazar is over double the height of New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge. A red monster. Unsurprisingly, the bridge is the site of heavy traffic, hundreds of cars cross the bridge every minute in both directions, even in the dead of night.
This was an unavoidable fact, one we realised after two hours camping in a nearby bush. There would be no break in traffic, no way of climbing the bridge without being seen by someone. Our only option was to attempt to look official and hope those we passed had better things to be doing. It turns out luck was on our side that night.