Tunnels of Madeira Island
When we speak about living on an Island, soon comes to mind that idea of a paradisiac place, full of beaches and stopped in time. Actually the first two options are very real, because there are beautiful beaches and paradisiacal places here, but stopped in time is something that Madeira Island is not.
In addition to having numerous leisure and fun options, Madeira has an incredible geography … cut across its length, the Island is known as Swiss Cheese by the number of “holes” in its volcanic rocks, passages for both walkers and vehicle to circulate throughout the Island. We have tunnels anyway: long, short, wide, tight, lighted, dark. Maybe it’s the place with the most tunnels per square meter.
When I spoke to people who were born here on the Island, I discovered that before the transformation of the routes (from Regionals to Highways) it took 8 hours in a bus between Funchal and Porto Moniz, on the North Coast of the Island, but as said before, the Island did not stop in time and modernized itself, creating the fast roads and tunnels that bring startling numbers in various aspects in the Portuguese panorama. To give you an idea, there are more than 150 tunnels that cut the mountains of Madeira Island and help a lot in the displacements.
This fact brought records to Madeira: the tunnel that connects Faial to Santana is the largest in the country, with 3168 meters; the tunnel between Machico and Caniçal is the largest double tunnel of Portugal, with 2100 meters; and not less impressive is the tunnel of the beautiful Encumeada that cost the trifles of 80 million euros. You can imagine how much was spent to bring comfort and agility in the displacements of Madeirans and tourists who visit us here on more than 135 bridges and viaducts.
In a place of extreme beauty, bridges such as the Socorridos with a main span of 106 meters or João Gome with a height of 125 meters impress.
In the past the tunnels were excavated by hand and called “Furado”.
A Portuguese poet said that to walk around this Island is to alternate between day and night only on a walk from the North Coast to the South Coast … anyone who has passed by here knows well that this is a good definition for the entrance and exit of the tunnels.
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