The abandoned Viaduct Petrobras in the middle of the Brazilian 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.

Viaduct Petrobras

Unbuilt Sections of BR-101: A Jungle Dilemma

In the 1950s, the Brazilian government embarked on the construction of BR-101, Brazil's longest highway spanning nearly 3,000 miles, but the segment from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo remained unbuilt, hidden within the depths of the jungle.

1970s Ambitions: Overcoming Challenges with Petrobras

In the 1970s, amidst Brazil's ambitious infrastructure plans and nuclear aspirations, the Viaduct Petrobras became a key element. The original plan faced challenges, leading to the decision to build the road over the jungle using paths created by Petrobras for their pipelines.

Viaduct Petrobras: A Monument in the Mountains

Tucked away in the southern part of the country, the new viaduct was built in the 1970s despite the precarious and inhospitable working conditions: hot, insects, and trees. Located near the southeast coast, amongst the mountainous peaks of Sierra do Mar, this key piece of the ambitious highway puzzle would help to bypass over 30 miles of coastal road from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo. The asphalted viaduct sits at 40 meters (131 ft) above the jungle and it’s 300 meters long.

Economic Crisis and Abandonment: The Fate of Viaduct Petrobras

However, Brazil's economic crisis stopped the project, and this impressive structure emerging out of the mist was left where it remains today.
Pic: Julio Brunkmann