The Pont de Bercy

Published on 23 January 2008 (updated on 24 January 2008)

 

The Pont de Bercy
The Pont de Bercy
(Photo ENPC)

Before 1832, there was a ferry between the two sides of the Seine at Bercy. This was replaced in 1832 by a three-span suspension bridge, constructed by the engineers Bayard and Vergès and opened by King Louis-Philippe. Bercy was outside the city limits at the time and until 1861 there was a toll on the bridge: one "sou" (5 pence) for a pedestrian, three "sous" (15 pence) for a two-wheeled carriage, and five sous for a four-wheeled carriage. The maximum weight was restricted to protect the structure of the bridge which was replaced in 1864 by a masonry bridge designed by the engineer FELINE-ROMANY..

In 1904 the bridge was widened by 5.50m so it could carry the metro viaduct, a masonry structure consisting of 44 semicircular arches. However, in the light of steadily increasing traffic and the plans for the development of the South-East districts of Paris it was decided to widen the bridge yet again.

Model of the Pont de Bercy
Model of the Pont de Bercy
(Photo ASCO-TP)

The decision to double the bridge was taken by the Paris Council on 20 January 1986The project involved adding 3 lanes of traffic and a 4.5m wide footpath, in all a total widening of 16m which was symmetrical with the initial bridge on the other side of the metro viaduct. A design competition was held which was won by a structure with exactly the same appearance as the existing bridge: the new piers are perfectly aligned with the old ones and the intrados and spandrels of the new bridge mirror those of the old bridge perfectly, using cut stone trim.

However, the two bridges are only similar in appearance as the new bridge is made from reinforced concrete not masonry. It is structurally completely independent from the existing bridge to avoid transferring any load to it. The new bridge and the repaired old bridge were opened in January 1992.

Designers
Old bridge: the engineers FELINE-ROMANY .
Contractor
Old bridge: GARNUCHOT. New bridge: QUILLERY - T.P.
Construction date:
Old bridge: 1863 - 1864. New bridge: 1989 - 1991 .
Total length: 175 m.
Effective width: 40 m : carriageways 10.50m and 10m; footpaths 4.90m, 10.70m and 4.50 m.
Constructional features:
Old bridge: five elliptical masonry arches with spans of 29m.
New bridge: identical in appearance to the previous bridge but constructed using reinforced concrete with stone trim. The piers are built on submerged concrete. Each spandrel is decorated with eye-shaped festoons.

Exceptional buildings or civil engineering structures near the bridge: Paris Bercy Sports Centre