The footbridge between Cerveira and Tomiño is so light that you can even “float” on it in Vila Nova de Cerveira

For Ginés Garrido there is “almost no border between Portugal and Spain” – especially in the north between the regions of Alto Minho and Galicia, “which seem to be the same place”. The river separates them, the closeness of languages ​​unites, the movement of “many people who cross the border every day” and the “close relationships that both sides maintain,” adds the Spanish architect. And of course they also connect the bridges spread across the entire area. Another will be built between Vila Nova de Cerveira and Tomiño: This will be pedestrians and cyclists and will start across the river to get from Parque de Lazer do Castelinho on this side to Espaço Fortaleza in Galicia. It will be known as the Ponte Goián Cerveira.

The project led by Ginés Garrido left the Burgos & Garrido office and was the winner of the competition sponsored by the Intermunicipal Community (CIM) Alto Minho and the Deputación de Pontevedra for the construction of a footbridge to connect the two banks. This competition was again part of the Visit Rio Minho project, also under the responsibility of the two companies. So there will be the Castelinho-Fortaleza Transfrontier Park, which will be presented in August 2017.

With a length of 330 meters and a width of 4.7 meters, the Goián Cerveira Bridge will have its own path for cyclists and another for pedestrians. In addition, it is hung and “hung” on a cable connected to two pillars erected over the territory of each park. Although this embrace between the two banks is made of iron, the connection will not be strict, but rather “transparent” and “light” – both “in terms of weight and in terms of the experience of crossing the river,” describes Ginés Brarrido .

Even with your feet placed at the start of the course, it is difficult to predict, but it will also be the suggested slope for the board. “It will be like floating or flying,” predicts the architect. To move from side to side, one has to “walk up and down” as the bridge arches slightly. The point of equilibrium (and the highest point) is in the middle, where the landscapes to the east and west fill the field of view. Like the bridge, the views are asymmetrical: on one side the river widens, “you can almost see the ocean in the background and the sunset”, in a thick green frame; On the other hand, you can see the history written in the solidity of the stone that builds the Fort of San Lourenzo (on the Galician side) and the Castle of Cerveira behind the Portuguese village itself and the natural landscape. “Usually,” adds Ginés Garrido, “you don’t look at a bridge on one side and look completely different from the other.”

Derailment of the sustainability drive

Much like Ginés Garrido says, the mayor of Vila Nova de Cerveira, Fernando Nogueira, believes that the new connection is another step towards “demarcation”. This time “the approach” for the closer relationship between the two communities is “environment”. With Visit Rio Minho, “a single park is born whose features complement each other and do not compete with each other and value the two banks”. And the six hectares that the two parks add up separately, with the pedestrian bridge and the cross-border park, will run close to 20. In addition, the project follows a logic that is based on “sustainability” and must be integrated into the “integration” of the landscape “taking into account the existing fauna and flora

This was also a concern of the Burgos & Garrido office. “There are many, many rules that apply when building a bridge [neste contexto]. You have to examine the relationship with the historical heritage, the natural landscape, the environment and the banks of the river, ”he explains. For this reason, “an environmental report is drawn up during and after the process”. The mayor of the Portuguese municipality says that the bridge will be watered down “in the landscape”, “in a very elegant line over the river”, with the creation of “a point of strong landscape interest” foreseen. In addition to the cycle path on the future bridge, the planned extension of the cycle path is planned: “We already have a network that comes from Monção and extends to Melgaço. Then to Valença, Cerveira and Caminha and the Lima Ecovia. And so you can connect with Ecovias on the Galician side. “

The creation of the cross-border park (and the construction of the bridge) is a work that has been going on for “six years”. “It is a lengthy, arduous and difficult process for all of its components,” emphasizes the mayor. When the cross-border park Castelinho-Fortaleza was presented in 2017, the aim was to complete the pedestrian bridge “by 2020”. However, among the local administrations there are “approvals and opinions” that have to lead to an agreement – but “it does not reach” the communities “to get along well because everything has to culminate in the government,” remembers Fernando Nogueira. “This is a big project that doesn’t have to be completed in a year. We want to start in a year, but I can’t give all the guarantees, ”he adds.

The Visit Rio Minho project is “community funded” (75% is from the Federation of the European Union). When building the Friendship Bridge, which connects Cerveira with Tomiño and is one and a half kilometers from the future pedestrian bridge, the percentage of co-financing was the same. “The rest was half paid by the Galician government. The other half was taken over by the Chamber of Cerveira and the government paid. This time it will be similar, ”explains the mayor.

Another project, signed by the architect Álvaro Siza Vieira, was considered a winner by some media, but “after that there were problems with the administrative analysis of Pontevedra and the candidacy fell,” explains the mayor of Vila Nova from Cerveira, Fernando Nogueira .

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