This report came about from spending two weeks in late-March/early-April 2002 in Lisbon, Portugal, and highlights some of the transportation observations I noted around that capitol city.
The ship I'm on (USS Samuel B. Roberts) has spent the past couple weeks
inport in Lisbon. We're about to head back out to sea tomorrow, but before that,
I thought I'd share some notes about transportation and traveling around in the
- Lisbon sits on the north side of the Rio Tejo (River Tejo). The river's drainage basin includes central Portugal, and most of central and western Spain (Madrid sends a tributary into the river, which is called the Rio Tajo in Spain). The river is about a mile wide on the Atlantic approach, widening to about a 3-4 mile wide drainage bay near Lisbon proper. The Lisbon area is a bit hilly, and the jut of hills (and cliffs) on the southern side of the Atlantic approach may explain why the wide drainage bay doesn't extend all the way to the ocean. In the meantime, this setup makes for a pretty hefty current on the Atlantic approach (has been known to reach 7 knots in the past).
- Crossing the Rio Tejo in the Lisbon area are 6 ferry lines and 2 long bridges, the Vasco Da Gama bridge (a long, cable-stayed bridge across the drainage bay which carries the A12 motorway...rough guess of 3 miles), and the 25th of April Bridge (a suspension bridge, a little over a mile long, which carries the A2 motorway).
- The 25th of April Bridge is a double-decker bridge. A passenger-rail line runs on the lower deck (better described as the bridge's substructure), while the main deck is a narrow, 6-lane divided expressway. Speed limit on the bridge is 60kph. There is no shoulder, and lane widths appear to be about 3.2 meters (10.5 feet). The bridge deck actually looks like it was retrofitted for 6-lanes from a previous 4-lane-with-shoulder configuration.....the outer half of the right lane and inner half of the left lane in each direction is metal grating for a surface.
- Lisbon has a fairly extensive public transit system, with the bus routes, ferry routes, subway (called the Metro), trolley lines, and surface passenger rail lines all interconnected. Ferry rides were 0.55 Euros, as was the Metro.
- Lisbon's "Metro" has 4 lines, the Gaivota, Girasol, Caravela, and Oriente lines (also called, in English terms, the Blue, Yellow, Green, and Red lines respectively), with 36 stations total. The system, in a nutshell, has two radials (Blue and Green), and two spurs (Red off of the Green, Yellow off of the Blue), with the Yellow and Green lines intersecting in the northern part of the city, thereby forming a loop. Three of the lines have extensions under construction, with the Blue line being extended by two stations east along the waterfront, the Yellow line being extended several stations further north, and the Green line being extended one station west of where it intersects the Yellow line.
- I don't have much information on the passenger rail lines, but I can say that from the maps, there are two lines radiating away from the central part of the city in each direction along the waterfront, a "loop" line that connects the two, as well as a northwest radial off of the "loop", and a line south from the "loop" that crosses the 25th of April Bridge. The northwest radial extends out to Sintra, a popular tourist area with a lot of historical sites.
- Although routes across the river are limited, there are a fair number of freeways on the Lisbon side of the river, and even one south of the river (connecting the A2 Autoroute to Costa Da Caparica, a popular beach area). What I would call "regional freeways" are given the IC designation (IC 20 is the one sout of the river...I was also a passenger along the IC 19 and IC 15 freeways). There are also "city freeways" within Lisbon that are named, but I'm not sure if there is a route designation for them. These "city freeways" are what connect the Autoroutes to each other. As for Autoroutes, the A2 travels south, the A5 west, the A8 north, the A1 northeast, and the A12 southeast.
- Did go on one "roadtrip", that being a bus trip from our first pier (on the south side of the river) to Sintra. We took "back roads" to IC 20, to the A2, across the bridge, then west along A5/IC 15 (both are duplexed), north on N 117 (which is effectively a Jersey Freeway), west along IC 19, then again on "back roads" to Sintra. Took many photographs along the route there, and a few on the return trip.
- Saw three different speed limits along the freeways: 90kph (most of the IC routes), 100kph (IC 19), and 120kph (A5).
- The Portugese equivalent of BGS is BWS (Big White Signs). Many of the freeways also had exit numbers (sequentially-based), which were marked by a small yellow area and black number in the upper right corner of the BWS.
- Saw a few distance signs on IC 19 on the return trip.
- As a general rule, the Portugese do not believe in shoulders. Also, they treat their speed limits about the same as we do.
- Got a few rolls of pictures that I've developed. If I figure out a way to scan them here, I'll E-mail them to Roaddog to put on my website. Otherwise, I'll probably mail the pics to Andy Field to scan in. I also have my Norway pics developed.
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