La Concordia Bridge

Since the introduction of the first City Hall in Matanzas on December 8, 1694, the main problem of the inhabitants of Matanzas was the imperative of the bridges, which are essential to keep the city connected both in the economic sphere, as in the military.


Concordia bridge Tombstone

While the bridge was planned studies concerning the site's location, in addition to its routine functions, played Pandal a professorship at the Institute of Secondary Education, ran various charities and inspected other state without compensation, and was from the 1st. June 1871, raising the geometrical and topographical map of the city, the first work concerning grading, was made in it by that time.


Concordia bridge in 1904

And it was only the study of the bridge in question, the one entrusted to Pandal, but also had been charged since 13 October 1870 do, preparing drafts of three bridges of iron: two respectively replace to San Luis badly damaged and completely destroyed Bailen by the storm of that year, and the third, compared to the North end of Calle del Ayuntamiento, or Yumurí the river, coming to be a total of four the projected bridges, although the end of the build was withdrawn from the street above. 

Since 1863, there was a project engineer commander Juan de Mena, for a bridge of lattice iron on Yumurí, across the street mentioned, which was described as "beautiful", and that costs up to $ 43,390, prompted the postponement ; recommended however, the construction of temporary wooden one across the street from Salamanca while getting the necessary credit to the first. But at the end, it was decided in 1865 to repair the old bridge Magdalene Street, which although not withstand the onslaught reinforced the meteor terrible epoch in the history of the city. 

The latter was built in 1830, and was very rustic, therefore, that when he brought down the rushing current of the river, contrasts with the flourishing state of prosperity and culture of the population: it was unworthy of the Athens of Cuba. 
The structure of this bridge was useless rudimentary, its bulk timber is supported on two intermediate piers, erected in the river bottom with rough stones and ordinary masonry, provided embankments and unevenly spaced, but above its board of rough planks , the magnificent rolling chitin the good old times.
The only bridge of any beauty at that time, was that of Bailen, completed in 1849 by the Royal Board of Public Works: masonry archways bravely saving the San Juan "gave him a look of elegance, more in keeping with the opulence of gracious Yucayo . And remember here the poet Milanés "leaning on the bridge, muttering the verses so entitled. 

Since the January 20, 1871, the Ruler Francisco Gumá, providing the consequent delays and delaying the rigorous administrative process with the Government's Political Superior island, and likely mishaps with the old bongo of yore, was presented to the Consistory Pandal plans for a floating bridge, whose ingenious structure, light and flexible rested on two major ballasted rafts or floats, made with the two halves of divided bongo that purpose. This bridge also provisional, of course, cost 15.468 shields, and had to project, because he had failed the record aimed earlier to build a fixed bridge of wood, also provisional, whose value amounted to $ 20,000, but was also the fate, that ofreferred floating bridge. 

The need for working miracles, was transforming the pedestrian walkway of the temporary bridge of circumstances, where vehicles went up a hundred pounds of weight, and turning bongo "Canímar" back to active duty, remained two-way communication and transport, poor than good, until the inauguration of the magnificent Pont de la Concorde, or eight consecutive years, by dint of props and patches that would facilitate the cyclone relief fund. 

This really happened, because the Governor and Captain General, Knight of Rhodes, had offered a loan of 800,000 crowns to the reconstruction of the city, seriously injured by the infamous hurricane, and remained so, the criteria to undertake one of thedefinitive works of iron bridges, but the fact is that the overriding attention of the Ten Years War, concerned with the increase the Government's Political Superior colony, ended up making monetary contributions illusory those being obliged the municipality of Matanzas to raise a loan, created to respond to the related amortization, extraordinary taxes inevitable. This supreme effort of the municipality, ensured that at least the most beautiful bridges. As the amount of draft Pandal, subject to the consideration of those engineers, amounted to the respectable sum of $ 100,000 in gold, the changes recommended by them tended to reduce the budget to 60 or 65.000 pesos, while sacrificing the whole aesthetic of bridge, to reduce it to simple useful purpose. 
Bruquetas engineer said in his report, rendered on November 27, 1872, that the draft met Pandal conditions of beauty, comfort and strength, but had not been welcomed on the economic level, that although Pandal discarded wood for bridge However, the stone could be helpful because there were many stone bridges of 40 m span and a single arc, Pandal architect, in his report dated December 12, 1872, defending his project, which had to totally overhaul, compelled to adjust the budget, putting all contribution once more talent and patience for the work to keep its severity and elegance, the apparent and real signs of stability and duration, the harmonious in its entirety indicating the rational use of matter, and comfort required by your particular destination, without loss of noble and beautiful, in recognition of culture and prosperity of the population. 
Regarding the notorious economy column stated that the chandeliers costing $ 1.000 and the massive $ 1.700, while the columns did not matter but $ 2.000, after the budget was increased by $ 700, rather than decreased $ 2.000, as falsely believed. And that removing the center candle, which accused symmetry in the construction at the same beauty, the bridge was left without lighting, utility desproveyendo its light provided to mariners at night when taking the bridge, that candlesticks showed them the highest point of it. 
Although the extent of the bridge was already proposed for the sake of public entertainment, were met within the new budget the necessary strength and duration, if also the beauty and elegance, which was to be submitted today to our admiration. 
On July 4, 1873 and the council had heard of the acceptance of the amended Bill with his new budget, as the Directorate General of Public Works had to yield to the report Pandal light, who did not reduce synthesis rather than light and width of the bridge, leaving it at 36 meters and it in 8, how that lay across the economy of the budget. The construction of the stirrups and works of art, were awarded to Mr. Vincent Biosca, Henry's father, an engineer and architect Matanzas currently exercised in the Capital. 
According to the report of the Captain of the Port, D. Manuel Perpignan, was set at 3 meters height of the bridge in the center, taking into account which fluctuated between 70 and 80 centimeters, the difference observed in live equinox marks. 
Construction began on February 1, 1875 and were fully concluded on December 21, 1878, having invested in them, 202 weeks, or are, 1414 calendar days, $ 108,828.46 gold in materials, $ 65,724.98 in wages, $ l, 280.02 in office expenses and $ 40.00 paid to the Chief District Engineer for the recognition of the Bridge. These items yield a total of $ 175,873.46 in gold, the amount of the bridge and all the works, machinery and other aids used in the construction of the former. 
Be taken into account in the dredging and channeling the river, whose course was changed slightly by correcting from the curve near the bridge to the mouth, had spent $ 9.500 gold, for such work came recommended by the storm of 76, when river flow caused serious disruptions in the work of the stirrups. 

List of concepts amounts under the payment made on October 2, 1878, by the counter of the works of the bridge. 

Clearance work on the Bridge of Concord      (in gold pesos) 
Bongo berths Canímar                                               253.02 
Construction of auxiliary bongo                                1,102.36 
Construction of pile                                                     1,041.11 
Acquisition and seat steam                                       1,705.87 
Construction of the bongo No.                                  1 425.03 
Construction of the bongo No.                                  2 509.54 
Construction of the dragline                                      3,010.25 
Cabria to load stone on bongos                               16.83 
Tool storage boxes                                                      81.36 pair 
Reconstruction of the bongo "Canímar"                  1,677.73 
Construction of a barge                                              29.28 
Temporary bridge repairs                                           380.98 
 breakwaters Compressor                                         139.50
Tools,                                                                              2,129.09 
Piling and gratings of both abutments                     24,581.59 
Dredging of both abutments                                      4,044.16 
Maceo temper                                                               9,830.04 
Factory works both brackets (inc. columns)           36085.08 
Stuffed and ramps on both stirrups                         11,689.91 
Acquisition and installation of the metal                  53,656.01 
Pavement of the central and access stairs            11,399.19 
Temporary railings ramps                                         564.36 
Repair bridge deck of Bailen                                     1.00 
92.92 disarmament of temporary bridge 
Dams store retejo                                                        13.50 
D. gratification Matthias Mines (Sbt. Street branch) 56.50 
Tombstones                                                                   547.77 
Administration fee and optional auxiliary                 1,0769.48 
Awards (Chief Engineer District)                                40.00 
Total amount of the work and other expenses        175,873.46

Note: The administrative expenses include $ 9,269.00 paid gold Mr. José García Bonilla, Rigger, Storage, Storage and counter works.

There was only one month to finish work on the bridge "Yumurí" on September 27, 1878 and alderman proposed alternate trustee Coffigny Mr. Carlos Ortiz, was given the name "Concord Bridge" because beginning in the dark days of the Great War, was ended when they enjoyed the serenity and peace. So, before one month after this agreement, or by 25 October, the City Council could have prepared the opening for the November 3, charging the council commissioners D Jose Maria Gago, D. Francisco Díaz Hernández, D. John Prendergast and D. Carlos Ortiz Coffigny, would switch to Havana and to invite D. Arsenio Martínez Campos and Anton, Governor and Captain General of the island, so that he would chair the opening ceremony. This magnificent bridge is distinguished among all raised on the island over the past century, an elegant and sober architectural decoration and the broad segmental arch of the metal structure. 

In the shafts of the four monumental columns crowned by stout masonry abutments, find expression, skillfully combined, the classical orders of Greek and Roman architecture, as in the capitals rife happy creation of the architect, which makes it appear as cimeroof those the body of a winch! a while harmonizing various ornamental motifs as anchors rings earrings, set of suggestions of the marine environment that excels in this work, which alone constitutes the physical traits that identifies the city of Yumurí. 

Each of the slender columns, placed two to two in both entrances to the bridge, carried in the past four Plateresque lamps and gas light lit up the ramps.

puente_Concordia_1920La Concordia Bridge in 1920

The soft iron structure composed of eight main trusses and spandrels centering rings linked together, describe a segmental arch of 36 m long and 3 sagittal, section decreases from the center to start-ups, while the spandrels ring decrease in reverse. 
Tops each side truss or arch outside, pathways, cornices architraves, above which are the artistically wrought iron railings. In the center and sides of the bridge are raised ornamental chandeliers that once illuminated the platform and indicated the river navigator, the highest point of it. It was preferred segmental arch, because allowing greater section of drainage produced a smooth ground for the track, whose granite cobblestone paving stated on a thick plate of hydraulic concrete while a thick layer of asphalt protects the plates of the board against oxidation. 

Today the tramway and street lighting cables tied to roughly its beautiful columns, the ancient decorative lanterns are gone, and a grotesque railway bridge built in the mouth of the river intersects the perspective of our own, reminding him through his rough billThe device that Mr. Taylor wanted to shove a Matanzas and which was to rid the taste of Pandal. 

The side steps of granite and stone bridge linking the lower steps of the riverbank, providing this need, enhance this solid piece of engineering that will exceed the century before his retirement, despite the reprehensible neglect in which found. We can therefore appreciate that was not as exaggerated as the premiere vox popuIi predicted that the bridge "would end." But it is necessary to make it certain that popular intuition, the painting is essential, because it is well washed out the "harmony" of 78, which could do with other Arreglito ... The question is, save from extinction the bridge that many thousands of dollars it cost the town of Matanzas, the day that is lost, replace it with a monstrosity like that from which the river supports.