Day 226/365 of Steel – The Pont de l’Europe

Inauguration of the Pont de l’Europe in Orléans on 20 November 2000

The Pont de l’Europe (architect: Santiago Calatrava LLC) is an inclined bowstring bridge crossing the Loire River at Orléans. The slenderness of the inclined metal arch on the edge of the deck, the elegance of the cable suspension, the original design of its supports in the Loire supporting the deck, and the major role played by the torsion in the general functioning of the structure are the main elements that characterize this work.

Europe Bridge - Orléans
Fig 1: Europe Bridge – Orléans
Photo:. Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Roland45 / URL

The main bridge is 378 m long. It consists of three spans of 88.20 m, 201.60 m and 88.20 m. Two buttresses on either side of the suspended span bring the total length of the crossing to 470.60 m. The deck is 378 m long and made of steel (4.900 tons).

It is an orthotropic caisson. The steel plates of the box vary from 14 mm for the upper table to 24 mm for the thickest parts. The box consists of four vertical webs of 20 mm thick stiffened thin sheet metal.

Europe bridge in Orléans
Fig 2: Europe bridge in Orléans

The main span is suspended from an inclined trapezoidal arch at the edge of the deck by means of 28 pairs of cables The arch is located to the west of the deck between the roadway and the pavement.

The angle between the vertical plane and the plane of the arch is 22°. This angle was chosen in order to center the resultant loads of the deck as much as possible in relation to the tripods.

Europe Bridge - Orléans
Fig 3: Europe Bridge – Orléans
Photo:. Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Roland45 / URL

The deck was built on the south bank. The caisson was reassembled from large prefabricated sections of 21 m in length. It was cut into six elements due to its large width. The caissons were entirely prefabricated in the workshop of Victor Buyck Steel Construction.

Europe Bridge - Orléans
Fig 4: Europe Bridge – Orléans
Photo:. Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Roland45 / URL

Once assembled, each section was pushed into place on temporary piers located on either side of the tripod piers and in the middle of the central span. The execution studies including the overall calculations of the bridge in service were done by Bureau Greisch

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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