Viaduct Petrobras

The abandoned Viaduct Petrobras in the middle of the jungle

Located on the eastern part of the state of São Paulo in Brazil, the Viaduct Petrobras is an abandoned masterpiece of concrete in the middle of the rainforest. It’s a mysterious huge concrete structure growing up out of the jungle and then just disappearing.

In the 1950’s, the Brazilian government began constructing a transcoastal highway (BR-101). It’d eventually form Brazil’s longest highway, stretching nearly 3.000 miles north-south, yet the segment from Rio de Janeiro to San Paolo had to be constructed deep in the jungle, far from the stunning beaches of Brazil’s east coast. This section was left unbuilt.

In the 1970’s, Brazilian government invested heavily in massive structures and wanted to complete the freeway leading to the nuclear ambitions of the country. The original plan was to take the highway over the mountains, but the idea had all sort of challenges. They looked for an alternative through the jungle but it was going to be difficult and decided to build the road over the top of the jungle, following existing paths built by Petrobras to maintain their pipelines.

Tucked away on the southern part of the country, the new viaduct was built in the 1970’s despite the precarious and inhospitable working conditions: hot, insects and trees. Located near the south east coast of the country, amongst the mountainous peaks of Sierra do Mar, this key piece of this ambitious highway puzzle would help to bypass over 30 miles of coastal road from Rio de Janeiro to San Paolo. The asphalted viaduct sits at 40 meters (131 ft) above the jungle and it’s 300 meters long. But the Brazil’s economic crisis stopped the project and this impossive structure emerging out of the mist was left where it remains today.
Pic: Julio Brunkmann