The Transporter Bridge of La Boca

One of the most important and historic pieces of urban architecture in Buenos Aires is perhaps also one of the most overlooked, the Puente Transbordador del Riachuelo in La Boca.

Transporter Bridge

Transporter Bridge, note cabin at bottom left

First proposed in 1908 to provide a much needed link between the city of Buenos Aires and Maciel island across the Riachuelo river in the Province, the bridge, originally named after President Nicolás Avenalleda was completed in 1914. Due to its position at the entrance to the main port of Buenos Aires in La Boca, the bridge needed to be high enough to give large ships clearance yet allow high volumes of traffic to cross, and in order to achieve this, a novel solution was used.
Riachuelo transporter bridge in 1938

Riachuelo transporter bridge in action, 1938

Rather than traffic crossing the bridge, a transporter bridge crosses the river, taking the traffic with it on a moving platform. From the first example built in Spain in 1893, fewer than 2 dozen have ever been built with only 8 remaining today, the one in La Boca being the only existing example outside of Europe and for over 20 years it was the only river crossing in action and carried pedestrians, cars and trams.
Transporter bridge with Puente Nicolas Avelleneda in the background

Transporter bridge with Puente Nicolas Avelleneda in the background

In 1940 a second, conventional, bridge was built barely 100 metres from the transporter bridge taking with it the name Nicolás Avellaneda and the majority of the traffic. The transporter continued until 1960 when it ceased operating and, like the surrounding area as a whole, fell into disrepair. At the beginning of the 1990s as the regeneration of a Boca as a tourist destination began there was talk of demolishing the old bridge. Thankfully enough voices were raised in protest, that this unique piece of industrial and urban history was saved and in 1995 it was declared a Site of Cultural Interest by the city.

Boca port with bridges in the background

Boca port with bridges in the background

Despite protection, the bridge has not been restored and it still stands, somewhat unloved, at the mouth of the old port area, a reminder of a once proud and innovative history.

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  1. tony says:

    such a shame that the bridge is not looked after. I did ask someone over there what was going to be happening to it and got a reply in the positive!! But it seems that there has not been anything else done about restoration of any type.(so far)
    As a member of the “friends of the Newport Transporter Bridge” I do get some info but not a lot, mores the pity.
    all the best anyway. Tony.

  2. RogerMcGuinness says:

    A pity- the Climb and Walk across the Newport, Gwent Transporter Bridge is Most Spectacular

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