Construction began symbolically on August 23, 1968, with the presence of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in their first and thus far only visit to Brazil. Actual work began in January, 1969, and it opened on March 4, 1974.
Its official name is the "President Costa e Silva Bridge", in honor of the Brazilian president who ordered its construction. "Rio-Niterói" started as a descriptive nickname that soon became better known than the official name. Today, hardly anyone refers to it by its official name.
The bridge was constructed by a pool of Brazilian construction firms. It is 13,290 m (8.25 miles) long - 8,836 m (5.49 miles) over water and the bridge's central span is 72 m (236.22 feet) high in order to allow the passage of hundreds of ships entering and leaving the bay every month. It carries 140,000 vehicles daily, which pay a toll only when entering Niterói of R$4.00 (as of September 2009[update]), about US$2.25 or €1.55 It has 18 access points and eight overpasses.
Officially it is part of federal highway BR-101.
Since June 1, 1995, it has been under the management of Ponte S.A., under a 20-year concession.