“Ponte de Santa Clara” (Saint Claire´s Bridge), is a road bridge over the river Mondego, in the center of the city of Coimbra in front of “Largo da Portagem”, the city center. Construction began in 1951 and was inaugurated on October 30, 1954, by the then President of the Council António de Oliveira Salazar. It had a total cost of 75.000 euros.
Its construction allowed the replacement of the old iron bridge that began to be built in 1873 and was opened to the public in 1875, which, in turn, replaced the old stone bridge dated 1513. It allowed the continuation of the connection between Santa Clara and the city center (Largo da Portagem) and the remaining Baixa de Coimbra.
It is a bridge based on a project by engineers Edgar Cardoso and António Franco and Abreu, the same for the São João and Arrábida bridges in Porto, among many others. The cost did not suffer any slippage due to the additional works.
It was on 30 October 1954 that the new bridge in Coimbra, the Ponte de Santa Clara, was inaugurated. It replaced the iron one that existed downstream of the current bridge and the one mentioned earlier. It had four lanes and lighting. At the time of the inauguration, the existence of gas lamps was highlighted, as well as a triangle, partly grassed, in the access to Largo da Portagem.
The new Santa Clara Bridge, much larger than the previous ones, thus responded to the growing increase in North-South road traffic, traffic that, at the time, crossed the city, flowing through the avenues Emídio Navarro and Fernão de Magalhães.