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.
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