Jacques Chaban-Delmas Vertical Lift Bridge Opens

March 16, 2013

The City of Bordeaux celebrated the opening of the newly named Jacques Chaban-Delmas Bridge, which is the largest lift bridge in Europe. The President of France, François Hollande and Bordeaux Mayor, Alain Juppé presided over the celebration, which lasted three days, and included a jazz festival, a 14-minute fireworks show, and a parade of ships led by the historic “Belem.” H&H Principal, Paul Skelton, PE, was an honored guest at the opening ceremonies, and received thanks from President Hollande for H&H’s design efforts on the project. The bridge, which connects the Bastide district near the city’s wharves with Bacalan, is named after the late Jacques Chaban-Delmas, who was Mayor of Bordeaux for 48 years.

H&H provided conceptual design, detailed final design, and construction support and supervision for the lift bridge mechanization and operating systems, working in conjunction with the Vinci Group, the Design-Build Contractor, and the Design Consortium of EGIS Jean Muller International; Michel Virlogeux; and Lavigne-Cheron Architects. The design resulted in a highly efficient system that allowed for light appearance of the bridge elements and towers.

The lift span has a symmetric cross section and carries four traffic lanes—two monorail tracks and two outboard sidewalk/bikeways. Four independent pylon towers, one at each corner of the lift span, will allow a counterweight (a quarter of the total lift span weight) to travel vertically inside each pylon. Operation of the lift span is achieved via high strength wire ropes passing over sheaves that connect the lift span to the counterweights. The bridge spans approximately 383 feet long, with an out-to-out width of approximately 141 feet, and a design lift height of 164 feet.

For more information on the Jacques Chaban-Delmas project, click here.

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The Chaban-Delmas Bridge Song