Sunday, February 26, 2017

Bridges of Lyon, France: Pont Marechal Juin across the Saone River

September 2016 (45° 45' 47.63" N    4° 49' 50.03" E) Pont Marechal Juin
Unlike last week's Passerelle Palais de Justice, this week's Pont Marechal Juin (just upstream) is a much simpler and more elegant bridge. Since they were both designed by Gilbert Lamboley perhaps the engineer felt more comfortable with a box girder bridge or maybe he could express himself more freely without an architect?
There has been a bridge near this site since 1070 (built using stones from the nearby Roman ruins). The previous bridge no longer met Lyon's traffic needs and so in 1971 the current bridge was built 200 meters downstream and aligned with Rue Grenette.
The Pont Marechal Juin is a 131.80 m (430 ft) long haunched three span, box girder bridge. Marshall Juin was a revered general who fought with native troops in Morocco where he lost the use of an arm during WWI.  He was captured by the Germans during the Battle of France, eventually freed and fought well in Italy; breaking the Gustav Line which resulted in the liberation of France. He opposed the Independence of Algeria in the 1960s and was forced into retirement.
The Pont Marechal Juin is a nicely understated double box girder bridge with rounded exterior girders and overhangs. It's similar to several other three span river crossing in Lyon (we've seen similar piers on several other bridges). Still, repetition isn't a bad thing. It's on a parabolic vertical curve that matches the parabola of the haunched middle span. It reminds me of an abstract sculpture or of a nice piece of jewelry.
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