Last Updated on 2021-01-01 by Birk Karsten Ecke
The Vanšu Bridge was opened in July 1981. Latvia was still part of the Soviet Union at that time. The bridge was named after the Russian-Soviet writer Maxim Gorky. Technically, the bridge is still a masterpiece today. It is designed as a cable-stayed bridge with only one pylon at a height of 109 meters. At the time of its opening, it was the longest cable-stayed bridge in Europe with a length of 625 meters. The Vanšu Bridge is the northernmost of a total of 4 road bridges that cross the Daugava in the urban area of Rīgā.
The pylon of the bridge has repeatedly cast a spell on suicides. The last time it was in 2012 was a young man who climbed one of the ropes and jumped onto the bridge. The ropes were actually provided with a special coating that was supposed to prevent climbing. However, the coating was not renewed regularly.
If you look at the Vanšu Bridge today, you have to realize that maintenance measures were and are generally used sparingly. The bridge is just 40 years old. But it is in a very bad technical condition. The rust gnaws everywhere on the structure, including the load-bearing parts.