The Aquitaine bridge
Light on the Aquitaine Bridge in Bordeaux, which will remind some of the famous San Francisco Golden Gate, from which it borrows the red colors.
Access to the Aquitaine bridge in Bordeaux
North of Bordeaux, above the Bacalan district on the left bank and the Parc de l'Ermitage Sainte-Catherine on the right bank, the Aquitaine bridge is the last passage over the Garonne before the Gironde estuary. It connects Lormont to the city of Bordeaux. The second longest suspension bridge in France, it is extended on the left bank by a viaduct. Motorway, the Aquitaine bridge allows passage of the A630, which bypasses the Metropolis to the west in the extension of the A10. Suspended 53 meters above the Garonne, it can let the tallest ships pass in the direction of the Port de la Lune. Its high pylons rise more than 100 meters above the river.
The history of the Aquitaine bridge
The Aquitaine bridge was inaugurated in 1967, just after the Saint-Jean bridge. A few years earlier, only the Pont de Pierre allowed the crossing of the Garonne by a means other than the train. The Aquitaine Bridge project was launched in 1956. However, its construction will not begin until 1961 and will end two years after that of the Saint-Jean bridge, the project of which was launched in 1963: the Aquitaine bridge project indeed met more detractors. With its 1700 meters in length and a carriageway height of over 50 meters, this suspension-type bridge was also of a more ambitious and technical design. Located downstream from the Port de la Lune, the structure had to be able to let the most imposing ships pass and not impact maritime traffic, commercial as well as yachtsmen.
The Aquitaine bridge was also intended to absorb part of the traffic so as to relieve congestion in central Bordeaux. In addition to the lanes for motor vehicles, it is designed with two cycle lanes, still present. When it came into service, the Aquitaine bridge could also be used by pedestrians. This is no longer the case.
The Aquitaine bridge in everyday life
The 50-year-old suspension bridge is subject to regular safety checks and numerous maintenance operations. During maintenance work, it is therefore closed to traffic in both directions. To disrupt traffic in the city and its periphery as little as possible, these maintenance operations are carried out most often at night. For example, the Aquitaine Bridge was closed twice in July 2020, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the Paris-Bordeaux direction, and from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the Bordeaux-Paris direction. The motorway is in this case closed between interchanges n ° 2 (Lormont-Croix-Rouge) and n ° 4 (Bordeaux-Labarde). The cycle paths are also closed during the works.
Usual detours are put in place when the Aquitaine bridge is closed for works. Vehicles coming from the A10 (Paris) are redirected to the inner ring road N230. Vehicles coming from the A630 are redirected to the A631 inner ring road. Bicycle users are redirected via the network of cycle paths to other bridges in the city.