It is one of the eight survivors of its kind. It was stalled for decades, considered to be dismantled and sold for scrap. Six years ago, it started functionaing again, but the river it crosses was as representative of the political “rift” as never before. It was left aside again and now, after several discussions, announcements and unfinished projects, it has started moving again.
The Nicolás Avellaneda ferry bridge, which connects the La Boca neighbourhood with the municipality of Avellaneda, is back in operation for touristic purposes, adding one activity to the attractive neighbourhood of La Boca.
The ferry operates on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except on rainy, windy or stormy days, It has the capacity to carry 25 people on each trip. It leaves every 30 minutes. It is estimated to make 13 trips per day and to transport 325 people
2017 was the commissioning year after a long restoration work. The first trip got stuck in the middle ofthe political rift between the Buenos Aires Government and the Municipality of Avellaneda.
The Nicolás Avellaneda ferry’s restoration work lasted five years. Despite its inauguration in 2017, it remained still until now.
The management and maintenance were in charge of Vialidad Nacional. As planned, the control would pass into the hands of the Buenos Aires Government. But in 2019 the national administration changed from Juntos por el Cambio to Frente de Todos, never completing this transition.
One of the organizations taking care of the ferry is the Fundación por la Boca. “For the neighborhood, the Nicolás Avellaneda has had a very important meaning since 1914”, considered Gabriel Lorenzo, Executive Director , in conversation with Clarín.
“At that time, it seemed crazy to us that, after the tremendous investment made at national level, it would not work due to political issues,” Lorenzo added, and highlighted, “It only moved that one time in September 2017, when the inauguration took place. After that, we brought different proposals for its opening on different days. After a year, we got it working for certain events and Vialidad Nacional never truly decided to open it completely.”
The Foundation said that now , with tourist’s resuming, they are encouraging the proper illumintaion of the Nicolás Avellaneda Bridge , in the same way of the important emblems of the City.
Together with the World Ferry Association, they are also negotiating with UNESCO for the eight ferries to be stated as as cultural heritage : the Nicolás Avellaneda is the only one in America.
UNESCO recognized it with the Blue Shield in 2019, a distinction that gives it world heritage status, meaning, for instance, that it must be protected in case of war or natural disasters.
The ferry works as a reflection of Argentina’s history. It was designed in 1904, with pieces brought by ship from England, assembled on the shore of the Riachuelo as a Meccano.
Inaugurated in 1914, progress seemed unstoppable on both banks of the river. At the beginning of the 20th century, the movement of workers from one side to the other was vital for shipyards, charcoal factories and the Anglo meat packing plant, which had 15,000 employees.
The bridge is 52 meters high, with a span of 77 meters. The most interesting feature is its horizontal beam, which supports the ferry nacelle, capable of bearing a load of up to 50 tons. With this hanging platform, in addition to people, cars, trucks and even streetcars could also be crossed.