Bridge over the Maracaibo Lake
Bridge over the Maracaibo Lake

The bridge "General Rafael Urdaneta", also known as the "bridge over Lake Maracaibo", was inaugurated by President Rómulo Betancourt, on August 24, 1962, after 4 years of construction. Here we present some photos of the time when it was being built.

Puente General Rafael Urdaneta

The construction of the Rafael Urdaneta bridge

Like any project, the bridge over Lake Maracaibo, Rafael Urdaneta, begins with a sketch.

The begin
Begin with a sketch

Then comes the foundations of the piles

the foundations
The foundations

Here rest the bridge
Here rest the bridge

In 1956, the government of Venezuela invited international companies for the construction of the bridge, where several proposals were submitted, but none was accepted.

The next year, another international company was invited, and only the company formed by Consorcio Precomprimido C.A. y Julios Berger A.G., presented a project using only specific pre-compressed concrete, as all other options were steel.

The Bridge has 135 sections, two of them 235 meters. Its height is 45 meters, which allows that beneath it, the huge ships that transport oil get through the lake.

In its construction 3,000,000 bags of 46 kilograms of cement and 20,000 tons of steel bars were used

View of the bridge during construction

The president Rómulo Betancourt inspecting the work

The tragedy of the bridge over the lake

On April 6, 1964, the tanker ship “Esso Maracaibo" of 36,000 tons of displacement, loaded with crude oil, ran out of energy, which made it crush from one side, against two piles of the bridge, causing the rupture of the structure. Unfortunately some number of vehicles that moved over the bridge not noticed the accident and fell, killing 7 people.

Eight months later, the bridge was rebuilt by the Creole Petroleum Corporation, owner of the ship.

More information on this page official bridge ('../down.php'); ?>