By Ricky Skelton
March 12, 2013

This is the Elevado do Jo in Rio de Janeiro, host city for the 2013 Confederations Cup, the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. The highway was built in 1971 to link Ipanema and São Conrado Beaches with Barra da Tijuca and Recreio, districts where many Olympic events will be held and where the Olympic Village will be. The concrete supports of the highway over the rocks and the sea are clearly corroding at the top, and the steel supports are rusting, and who knows what state the ocean wave-battered bottom end is in. Waves crash into the rocks every few minutes and some of the supports are almost at sea level.

This highway carries 112k vehicles per day. The Rio city government has just lowered the speed limit to 60kmh, with buses and lorries still allowed to pass over it, along with all those cars and bikes. There are plans for more temporary repairs before the big events take place, which will hopefully ensure that the supports stay upright at least until after the Olympics. More permanent repairs would take over a year to complete, so the city will not sanction them as such a busy time approaches.

Regular maintenance does not exist on this structure and various experts who have studied the bridge have already warned that the whole thing is in danger of collapse and needs to be completely rebuilt. Inspections are very difficult to do to check right inside the structure to see how decades of rain and seawater have affected it. Pools of lying water with no drainage could have been lying inside the points where the supports connect with the horizontal sections for years. These are the crucial points of the whole structure, where faults and corrosion could lead to structural collapse. The four year study undertaken by the civil engineers of COPPE at the Federal University in Rio could not gain access to open up the structure and check these important details. The opening of holes in more accessible areas of concrete is at least allowing them to get some kind of idea.

Now… with one huge tragedy in Brazil recently due to ignorance of security measures and cost-cutting, the government in Rio are prepared to risk another that could be far larger, and would lead to a massive drop in visitor numbers for the big events in Rio.
We have made our last journey on the old Elevado do Jo.

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Previous articles by Ricky:

Around Brazil: Porcaria de Janeiro
Understanding Brazil: Holding Hands
Understanding Brazil: Statues & Self-Worth
Understanding Brazil: Mosquitoes Part II
Understanding Brazil: The Pub
Understanding Brazil: Protesting
Understanding Brazil: General Elections
Around Brazil: Oktoberfest Parade in Blumenau
Cultural Brazil: The Alambique
Around Brazil: Whale-Watching in Santa Catarina
Brazil: Tainha Time
Deported from Brazil? Part 2
Deported from Brazil? Part 1
Brazil: The President in Florianópolis
Swine Flu in South America?
The Best Club in Brazil…?
The Great Brazilian Animal-Off (Land)
Understanding Brazil: Giving Directions
Understanding Brazil: Driving
Understanding Brazil: Farra do Boi
Brazil: Catching Flu’
Around Brazil: Garopaba
Understanding Brazil: Funerals
Brazil: Bernie the Berne
Around Brazil: Journey to the Amazon Jungle
Around Brazil: Crazy Town Ceremonies
Around Brazil: Crazy Town
Around Brazil: Manaus
Around Brazil: Santarem & Alter do Chao
Around Brazil: Amazon Swarms and Amazon Storms
Understanding Brazil: Playing Pool
Around Brazil: Gurup
Around South America: Peninsula Valdes
Around South America: Patagonia
Around South America: Montevideo, Uruguay
Around Brazil: The Amazon
Around South America: Bariloche, Argentina
Understanding Gringoes: Drinking
The Great Brazilian Fruit-Off Part 2
The Great Brazilian Fruit-Off Part 1
Understanding Brazil: The Kids
Brazil v Argentina: Buying Beer
Understanding Brazil: Mosquitoes
Around Brazil: São Luis
Teaching English in Brazil
Around Brazil: Lenois Maranhenses
Understanding Brazil: The National Anthem
Around Brazil: Barreirinhas
Around Brazil: Jericoacoara to Barreirinhas
Understanding Brazil: Shopping Centres
Around Brazil: Jericoacoara
Around Brazil: Chapada da Diamantina/Lenois
Brazil vs. Argentina: Statues of Christ
Around Brazil: Salvador
Brazil vs. Argentina: The Buses
Around Brazil: Morro de São Paulo (& Itabuna)
Understanding Brazil: The Workmen
Around Brazil: Praa Pateo do Colegio
Around Brazil: Porto Seguro
Around Brazil: Rio de Janeiro to Porto Seguro
Around Brazil: Cristo Redentor
Understanding Brazil: The Sellers
Around Brazil: Ilha de Gigoia
Brazil Journeys: São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro
Understanding Brazil: Dogs Part 2
Brazil: A Lie-In in Downtown São Paulo?
The Best Job in Brazil: Ankle Specialist?
Understanding Brazil: Dogs
Brazilian Places: Ilha do Santa Catarina (Floripa)
Classic Brazilian Journeys: South to Florianopolis
Understanding Brazil – The Shower
Brazil: Boats on the Amazon
Brazil: Understanding Novelas
Brazil: Bus fires in São Paulo – always a bad thing?

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