The Story Behind The Abandoned Viaduct Petrobras

Right in the middle of a forest in the southern state of Sao Paolo in Brazil is a large yet abandoned road called Viaduct Petrobras. It’s a mysterious concrete structure that sticks like a sore thumb from the jungle then disappears abruptly. The road was part of the trans coastal highway that was built by the Brazilan government in the 1950s. It eventually became Brazil’s longest highway as it stretches for almost 3,000 miles from north to south. But the segment that was supposed to connect Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paolo was left unbuilt because it had to be constructed deep in the jungle.

Viaduct Petrobras

Then in the 1970s, the Brazilian government revived the project fueled by ambitions of transforming Brazil into a nuclear powerhouse. The government first thought of building a road over the mountains but executing the plan proved to be quite challenging. Then they flirted the idea of building a road that goes through the jungle. But the people in power realized that will just be as difficult, if not more, than their first plan. Finally, the government decided to build a road over the jungle. The road will trace an existing path built by gas company Petrobras so their pipelines can be easily reached for maintenance. This is also how the viaduct got its name.

On top of Viaduct Petrobras

Construction pushed through despite hostile conditions in the area that had workers battling heat, insects, and the challenge posed by large trees. It was an ambitious project that, when finished, will bypass more than 30 miles of coastal road from Brazil’s former capital to Sao Paolo. The 300 meters long viaduct sits 131 feet above the jungle.

Viaduct Petrobras

An economic crisis hit Brazil right in the middle of the viaduct’s construction. So the project was stopped. And now it is known as the abandoned road in the middle of the jungle.

Coordinates: -23.7388, -45.5494

Viaduct Petrobras

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