Bridge over Guadiana river, at Merida, Badajoz.
Arco del puente sobre el Guadiana
Pillar of the first section of the bridge on Guadiana river
with round cutwaters and padded ashlars

Construction of this great bridge is one of the most important deeds for creation and evolution of Emerita Augusta.
A great bridge with 60 archs -three of them almost underground- is 792 m. long. It is built with concrete covered by big padded ashlars. The work was divided into different sections of archs, built in several series.
First and second section were built at Augustus age. In order to join them and make them stronger, a common cutway was built against the river course, in order to make lower the water strenght against pillars. After an increasing of the water at 17th century, cutwater was broken and five new archs were built. For this and later restores, ashlars from the Theater were used.
First section preserves today its Roman facture. It is composed by 10 semicircular archs with a gate 6,50 m. or 10 m. long. For its big pillars, wooden bases were constructed: in this way weight was divided into round cutwaters.
Puente de Mérida
Bridge of Merida -Press to enlarge-

(Bank of Images of the National
Center of Information and Educative Communication)

Second section is bigger, composed by 25 archs of a different construction and origin: its gates oscilate between 5 and 15m. long. It is the most problematic area because of different forces and basements. So, restores and rebuilt were numerous.
After these sections, Roman architects could make five new enlargings, because western area was flooded with winter growings. On three first, 22 archs were built, probably at Traianus age. Slope for access to western bank is composed by three archs later built.
It directly communicated with the door of the wall of Decumanus Maximus becoming with it the main city axis. It was made at several times because of its complexity: archs and cutwaters were built or substituted following technique discoverings of each time.
Alzado del primer tramo del Puente sobre el Guadiana
Elevation of the first secion of the Bridge over Guadiana river

It suffered several modifications and restores because of spoilts that river made and because of warlike troubles, being the first by Visigothics -Euricus-, and the last at 19th century.
It went on being used until 1993: then it remained just for walkers' use.