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Construction of Bordeaux's new signature lift bridge reaches key milestone

Contractors were this week applying the finishing touches to the first two of four 77m tall towers on Bordeaux’s dramatic new signature bridge.

Conceived by Charles Lavigne with input from world renowned bridge designer Michel Virlogeux, the €146M (£127M) vertical lift bridge across the Garonne river is being built by Vinci Construction Grands Projets and its subsidiaries GTM Sud Ouest and Cimolai under a design and build contract. Vinci’s structural engineer is EGIS.

The 433m long bridge will link the Bacalan and Bastide districts on the left and right banks of the river 2km downstream of the city centre, carrying four lanes of traffic, two tram lines, cycle lanes and pedestrian walkways. A viewing gallery will top one of the towers.

The central section, 117m long by 53m wide, will lift up to 60 times a year to allow sailing ships up to 53m tall to pass beneath. Raising the 3,750t section will take just 11 minutes.

Vinci beat off four competitors to win a design competition run by client Communauté Urbaine de Bordeaux in 2008 and began construction in October 2009. Completion of the first two towers this month will mark the halfway stage of construction, with the bridge scheduled to open in late 2012.

  • A special report on construction of the Pont Bacalan-Bastide will appear in NCE next month.


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