What else could better constitute a triumphal arch of a newly-formed industrial civilisation in the late 19th century than steel? The Biscay Bridge, popularly known as the Hanging Bridge, was inaugurated on 28 July 1893 as the world's first shuttle bridge with a metallic structure.
Designed by Alberto Palacio y Elissague, constructed by Ferdinand Joseph Arnodin, and financed by Santos López de Letona, it was meant to link the towns of Portugalete and Getxo, one with a steep rocky and the other with a low sandy bank, without hindering shipping.
However, a new age required an innovativeblueprint. All of the options available at the time were scrutinised - a shuttle on rails, floating barges and all types of bridges: revolving, platform, bascule, submarine, elevated, etc. - and eventually discarded.
The Palacio Shuttle Bridge design was masterminded, a structure based on two horizontal girders to support the rails and resting on four pillar towers that stand on the quays of both banks.