Sunday, November 27, 2016

Bridges of Lyon, France: Pont de l'Universite across the Rhone River

September 2016 (45.7569, 4.8382) Pont de l'Universite
Continuing past the Rhone Nautical Center we arrived at the Pont de l'Universite, a three span metal arch bridge. University buildings were constructed between 1876 and 1898 on the right bank and this bridge was built to replace the ferry service and allow students to walk to class. According to the Structurae Website, the bridge was designed by Fabreque, Hinnovait, and Jean Resal and built by the Society des Forges de Franche-Comte. At it's inauguration in 1903 it was named Pont des Faculties, but it was quickly renamed the Pont de l'University.

In September of 1944, 22 bridges in Lyon including the Pont de l'Universite were blown up by the Wehrmacht. Photos of the destruction were taken by the Dusson family and are now available on the Instants Lyonnais Website. A temporary wooden bridge was built beside the damaged Pont de l'Universite while it was being repaired and it was reopened in 1947.
The Pont de l'Universite is 268 meters (880 ft) long and 20 meters (66 ft) wide.  Each span is composed of eight built-up truss arch ribs made of wrought iron from the town of Longwy. The arches are supported on piers and abutments built from stones of Porcieu-Amblagnieu.
The Pont de l'University is highly ornamented with bright red insignias of the Republique Francaise along with a laurel leaf on the piers and with shields and fleur de lis on the arch ribs. The portion of the arch above the quay is a favorite place for exercise. I saw the man in the photo below doing pull-ups from the arch ribs.
Looking to the west (in the photo below) we see the Basilica of Notre Dame Fourviere up on a hill in Vieux Lyon several miles away. This 19th century church has an eclectic architectural style different from the traditional Gothic architecture of the other churches in Lyon. 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Bridges of Lyon, France: Pont de la Guilotiere across the Rhone River

September 2016 (45.7569, 4.8382) Pont de Guilotiere
A bridge has been at this site since at least the Middle Ages. Oak piles were found at this location in the 1980s when they were building the subway. Arches from the bridge (shown below) were discovered on the left bank 100 meters from the current bridge, suggesting the river has changed its course over the years and explaining why the Place du Pont is located at some distance from the river.
Guilotiere refers to a nearby town that was incorporated into Lyon in 1852. At that time the bridge provided passage over the river on a direct road to Italy and so many artists and merchants moved into the area and it also became the residence of waves of emigrants seeking a better life.
The current Pont de Guilotiere was built in 1953 after the previous bridge was destroyed by the retreating German Army at the end of WWII. 
The superstructure is composed of three steel boxes connected with cross bracing and steel I-girders for the top deck. It sits on stone piers and abutments, perhaps from the earlier bridge. However, the current bridge is much wider, so the new substructure must have been reassembled from old stone.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Bridges of Lyon, France: Pont Wilson across the Rhone River

September 2016 (45.7600, 4.8394) Pont Wilson
About 1/4 mile downstream from the Pont Lafayette is the Pont Wilson. The city of Lyon seems to really like the United States, or at least those people who helped France during its wars, such as President Wilson who intervened to help end WWI.
The Pont Wilson replaced an old dilapidated suspension bridge in 1918 (at the end of the war). This 98 year old, four span open spandrel arch structure was considered revolutionary at the time because a reinforced concrete deck was supported on traditional Villete stone masonry arches and caissons.
Unlike many of the bridges across the Rhone, the Pont Wilson has roads (Rue Childebert to the east and Rue Servant to the west) that continue beyond the bridge. The new bridge is much wider than the suspension bridge it replaced (20m instead of 7m) with two lanes (traveling west on a one-way street) and with wide sidewalks (4.5m instead of 1.1m).
Like most of the other roadway bridges that we've studied over the Rhone, the Pont Wilson is composed of two separate arches tied together by a steel frame that supports the deck. Also like the other bridges across the Rhone the Pont Wilson was bombed by the retreating Germans and eventually rebuilt in 1948.
The Pont Wilson has dolphins to protect the bridge on both sides (both upstream and downstream). This bridge requires four spans to cross the river, while the previously studied arch bridges crossed over the Rhone on three arch spans.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Bridges of Lyon, France: Pont Lafayette across the Rhone River

September 2016 (45.7636, 4.8397) Pont Lafayette
Continuing downstream past the Passerelle du College is a second Rhone River crossing that survived WWII (although the center span was destroyed and rebuilt in 1946). A second bomb was found under the bridge in 2014.
The Pont Lafayette was named after a military hero in France and in the United States who was instrumental in winning the American War of Independence. With George Washington he laid siege to General Cornwallis' troops in Yorktown and forced his surrender. In 1829 Lafayette crossed the Rhone (on an earlier bridge at this site) and it was renamed in his honor. At his death the U.S. government brought soil from Yorktown to place on his grave.
The current Pont Lafayette was built in 1890 to replace an aged structure. It's a three span metal arch. The stone piers are decorated with sculptures representing the Rhone and Saone Rivers (reproductions of sculptures found at the Place Bellecour). The Saone is represented as a woman resting on a sedate lion and the Rhone is represented by a warrior leaning against a roaring lion (by Nicolas and Guilaume Coustou).  The ornate exterior arches are decorated with fluted columns adding to the bridge's neo-classical appearance. The mauve and aquamarine colors seem very French.
The bottom flange is attached to the arch (and attached to the cross-bracing) with rivets. Similar to the Vasabron Bridge, which was discussed in a recent Happy Pontist Blog, this bridge was most likely fashioned out of wrought iron. The first steel bridge was the Eads Bridge in Saint Louis, Missouri that was built in 1874, 14 years before this bridge was constructed. However, it's possible that the middle span was rebuilt after the war using steel.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.