1895: This Suspension Bridge in Colombia is Still the Second-Longest Span of its Kind on the Continent

1895: This Suspension Bridge in Colombia is Still the Second-Longest Span of its Kind on the Continent

This bridge turns 125 years old this year. 🙂

Transportation History

December 27, 1895

Construction on a record-setting bridge in the Republic of Colombia was completed. The Puente de Occidente (Spanish for “Bridge of the West”), which took eight years to build, is located in northwestern Colombia’s department (administrative subdivision) of Antioquia. The bridge owes its name to the fact that it is in that department’s western region. The Puente de Occidente crosses the Cauca River and serves as a link between the municipalities of Olaya and Santa Fe de Antioquia.

The plans for building the bridge were authorized by Marcelino Vélez, governor of Antioquia. José María Villa was the engineer who oversaw the construction of the bridge. Villa, who had been born in 1850 in the municipality of Sopetrán in that part of Antioquia, studied engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

During his time in the United States, Villa helped with the design and construction of the…

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