FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Reflections from the lagoon

Posted in Brazil, Laguna by folkestonejack on July 13, 2013

Today’s lunchtime stop brought us to the private waterfront property of a former mayor of Tubarão for a Brazilian style barbeque and a glass or two of a particularly potent caipirinha. It was a good opportunity to stop and reflect in beautiful surroundings.

Peace and tranquility on the Lagoa de Santo Antonio

Peace and tranquility on the Lagoa de Santo Antonio

Our spot on the edge of the Lagoa de Santo Antonio offered a wonderful view across to the far shore, which looked much as it might have done through the centuries. All along the shoreline you could see an array of wooden boathouses, whilst out in the lagoon itself a small group of fishermen passed by their nets.

As timeless as this seemed to us, it is a scene that will not last much longer as work has just started on a new four lane motorway bridge which will cut a new path across the lagoon and straighten the route of the BR101.

The future beckons...

The future beckons…

The new bridge is intended to eradicate the bottlenecks that we have seen build up all too easily on the approach to the existing bridge. The footprint of the new bridge can be clearly seen in this artist’s visualisation of the lagoon with the bridge and a short video on youtube qives a flythrough of the new bridge showing just what a dramatic difference this will make to the local landscape.

The railway first bridged the lagoon in the late nineteenth century, connecting the mainland to the Imbituba district with a 1430m long lattice-girder bridge. At the time it could justifiably claim to be the longest bridge in South America and, remarkably, it still stands to this day (albeit heavily corroded). A few sections have fallen away, but apart from that it is largely still intact – though I don’t think I would want to test its ability to hold up a heavy steam freight even were it to be possible to get one up there!

The old railway bridge runs parallel to the current rail/road bridge

The old railway bridge runs parallel to the current rail/road bridge

The original bridge was replaced in the 1930s by the Ponte Henrique Lage which was part causeway and part bridge. Although the new bridge better suited the heavier trains on the line, it came at the cost of environmental damage to the lagoon. The bridge still carries the railway line to Imbituba to this day – though it is a rare sight to see a steam locomotive racing the traffic on the adjacent highway.

Santa Fe no. 205 crosses the combined road/rail bridge/dam across the lagoon

Santa Fe no. 205 crosses the combined road/rail bridge/dam across the lagoon

The history of the existing bridge may have its critics but there is no denying that the sight of a steam freight working its way across its length is incredibly impressive. I don’t expect to return here but it will be fascinating to see the photographs of the completed bridge.

Gallery

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: