Viaduct 13

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Viaduct 13
Viaduto 13
Exército Viaduct
Viaduto Do Exército
Muçum, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
469 feet high / 143 meters high
(98) foot span / (30) meter span


Image by João Carlos Ebone

With its ominous sounding name and towering piers, the intimidating Viaduto 13 is the highest railway bridge in South America. Completed in 1978, it is also known as Viaduto do Exército and is the tallest of several large viaducts on the Ferrovia do Trigo or Railway of Wheat north of Muçum in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Built by the Brazilian army in the mid-70s, the number 13 is just a coincidence with 12 other viaducts numbered up from the city of Muçum.

Notable for its thin, tapered piers, the 1,670 foot (509 mtr) long monstrosity has 15 of them. The omission of any cross members between the taller piers may look disconcerting but the 2.6 foot (80 cm) thick walls of each slab are more than adequate to support the heavy locomotives that travel across it. At 459 feet (140 mtrs), the main pier is the tallest ever built for a railway bridge even though the viaduct ranks 8th in the world among all railroad bridges in height.

Outside of Mexico, Brazil has the greatest number of high railroad bridges in Central and South America. Several are in the 328 foot (100 mtr) range including the curving, 1969-built Viaduto Fundão on the Ferrovia Centro-Atlântica, the Viaduto afogador da ligação on the ferroviária Fazenda Alegria-Fábrica and the huge Viaduto Araguari with its rare A-frame span opening. The Viaduto da Geriza is another curving beauty and can be found on the Ramal ferroviário Capitáo Eduardo.


Image by João Carlos Ebone


Image by João Carlos Ebone


Image by João Carlos Ebone


Image by João Carlos Ebone


Image by João Carlos Ebone


Image by João Carlos Ebone


Image by João Carlos Ebone



A view of viaducts 11 and 12.


Viaduct 13 / Exército satellite image.

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