Sunday, December 18, 2016

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

September 2016 (45.7333, 4.8208) Pont Pasteur (with the Passerelle de las Paix and the Confluence Museum)
It is a one mile walk downstream from the Perrache Viaduct to the Pont Pasteur along the Rhone. This area, near the confluence of the Rhone and the Saone, has seen less residential development then the rest of Lyon, but plans are being made to build another bridge (the Ponts des Girondins) and also to provide more parks and other amenities for the Girondins Zac (south of the railroad), which is currently mostly industrial buildings.
A bridge was built at this spot in 1914 but it was washed away by a flood in 1918. A three span arch was built in 1923 but it was destroyed during WWII. The current bridge was built in 1950. It is a three span reinforced concrete open spandrel arch bridge (composed of three arch rings) with the arches springing from foundations at water level. The arches also have flat curves that rise only about 25 ft above the water. Consequently, there are no large ships and no movable bridges across the Rhone in Lyon, just barges and pleasure craft. The river has been dammed and there is a system of locks to allow boats to travel along the Rhone (or along adjacent ship channels) from Switzerland 500 miles south to the Mediterranean. More information for those thinking about navigating this river is available from the French Government.
The current Pont Pasteur is 195m (640 ft) long and 18m (60 ft) wide. Pedestrian undercrossings (see photo above) were built in the abutments to allow people to continue walking along the quai since the arches are too low to walk under. This bridge appears to be a favorite hangout for pigeons.
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