“Our heritage is aging”: Gironde must break the bank to avoid a tragedy on its bridges

“Our heritage is aging”: Gironde must break the bank to avoid a tragedy on its bridges
“Our heritage is aging”: Gironde must break the bank to avoid a tragedy on its bridges

By

Nicolas Gosselin

Published on

May 21, 2024 at 6:20 a.m.

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The Rouergue bridge in La Réole, the Bonzac bridge in Saint-Denis-de-Pile, the Bois bridge in Izon or the Langrane bridge in Saint-Pey d’Armens… In a few months, all these works of art in Gironde have made the objective of a partial or permanent closure.

” OUR heritage is aging, more at the end of its life than at the start of the cycle, recognizes Martin Caplanne, head of the engineering works office at the Department. Major rehabilitation, repair and even demolition-reconstruction operations will tend to increase in the coming years. It’s not a secret. »

“A dozen bridges under increased vigilance”

This observation is not specific to Gironde. In 2019, France had 25,000 bridges “in poor structural condition” and requiring work, according to the conclusions of the senatorial information mission on bridge safety.

The collapse of the Mirepoix-sur-Tarn bridge, a few months later, revived the subject. It must be said that in 2018, the collapse of the Genoa motorway viaduct, killing 43 people, had already alerted public opinion in France and prompted the launch of this senatorial information mission.

Jean Galand, vice-president of the Department in charge of mobility, mentions “a dozen bridges in Gironde which require increased vigilance”. “And there are six for which we will begin work as soon as possible”adds the elected official.

A bridge must be demolished in 2025

Among them, there is notably the Rouergue bridge and the Bonzac bridge, which must be completely demolished in 2025 and rebuilt by 2028. For these two major works, Jean Galand estimates the cost of the work at around 12 million euros. A colossal investment.

This represents more than a quarter of the annual budget of the departmental infrastructure directorate, responsible for maintaining more than 6,000 kilometers of departmental roads, including 390 kilometers of cycle paths and 2,000 structures.

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And it’s not over ! The structures built in the first half of the last century were not designed to support this much traffic or such tonnages. Not to mention that materials suffer from increasingly extreme weather conditions with climate change.

Regular monitoring

Regularly monitored, they are classified and noted according to their condition to prioritize those requiring emergency work. “Prioritization is the big difficulty, reacts Martin Caplanne. We try to combine a whole bunch of elements. Whether it is the clean condition of the structure, the operating constraints, the environmental constraints. And then, we also try to combine with the acceptance that we can have in the territory. »

In other words, the socio-economic consequences of a closure to traffic. “For the moment, we are not yet faced with discrimination in the territory. We do not postpone work because of budgetary constraints. »

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