Friday, May 1, 2009

Seine River Bridges: Pont de la Concorde

The big events in the life of a river crossing are floods and scour, collisions with river traffic, and fatigue of bridge members. For bridges on the Seine, political events are also important. Wars, battles, revolutions, and less violent changes in governance have had an impact on many of the Seine river crossings. For the Pont de la Concorde, increased traffic demand has also played a big part in it's life.

The Pont de la Concorde was completed in 1791. It was built during the French Revolution with stones taken from the Bastille. Napoleon decorated the bridge with statues of his fallen generals. They were replaced with other statues when the Bourbons returned to power but those statues were eventually moved to Versailles.

Increased traffic demand resulted in the bridge being widened in 1932 with an attempt to preserve its original appearance.

This bridge is located next to the Place de la Concorde, a large square decorated with a fountain, an obelisk, and statues.  It was originally the Place Louis XV where prisoners were executed and then during the revolution a guillotine was erected there. It was renamed the Place de la Concorde as a gesture of reconciliation.

The Pont de la Concorde was originally a five span, stone masonry, closed spandrel deck arch. In 1932 both sides were widened with reinforced concrete to match the original arches.  It is 153 m (502 ft) long with 25 m (83 ft), 28 m (92 ft), 31 m (102 ft), 28 m (92 ft), and 25 m (83 ft) spans.  It was originally 18 m (59 ft) wide but almost doubled in width to 34 m (112 ft) in 1932. Among its features are column-shaped cutwaters outside the piers with elaborate capitals supporting pedestals where the statues had once been placed.   
Creative Commons License
Seine River Bridges: Pont de la Concorde by Mark Yashinsky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

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