Pont d'Orléans (Pont de l'Europe)
Orléans, France
1996 ­ 2000

Photos courtesy Santiago Calatrava archives


The Pont d¹Orléans, over the Loire River, links the communities of Saint-Jean de la Ruelle at the north and Saint-Pryvé Saint-Mesmin at the south.

Calatrava¹s design refers in a symbolic way to the Pont Royal (Pont George V).  The two fortress towers that flank each end of the historic bridge reaffirms the Pont George V as an element that structures the city.

In a contemporary way, this composition is reinterpreted in Calatrava¹s Pont d¹Orléans.  The symmetrical piers, cut as modern bastions, create a new gateway for the city.  The inclination of the arch stresses the dynamic image of the bridge, again signifying the entrance of the city.

The steel bridge structure employs a suspended inclined arch standing on clear concrete pylons. The transverse section of the deck steps up, allowing pedestrians to enjoy an overview of the city and the Loire embankments  from the higher pavement.

The environmental impact of the pylons on the riverbed is reduced to the minimum, not only to accommodate for the instability of the soil, but also to preserve the natural flow of the Loire bed and its ability to form a reflection.  The concrete pylons and their mirror image in the water create the form of an elongated oval.

The steel deck is composed of three sections, of 88.2 meters (289 feet),

201.6 meters (661 feet), and 88.2 meters (289 feet), making a total length of 378 meters (1,240 ft).

The main section is suspended from the decentralized inclined arch by means of a double series of 28 hangers.  With the buttresses at the lower embankment of the Loire, which are made of pre-stressed clear concrete, the bridge has an overall length of 470.6 meters (1,544 feet).

Client: City of Orléans.