Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dodgy bridge

I cross the Isère several times a week by means of this bridge, between Choranche and St-Marcellin, which dates from around 1953.

The bridge is located alongside a small and ancient village named La Sône (derived from the Latin expression for "sonorous water"), which I mentioned in my blog post of 30 June 2009 entitled Weaving machines [display]. Here's another view of the bridge, photographed from the café in the middle of La Sône.

A week or so ago, the bridge was closed for vehicular traffic, for an unspecified period of time. The red and white barrier that you can see in the above photo indicates the place at which an unexpected engineering mishap occurred. Look closely at the following photo, and compare the levels of the road on either side of the concrete pylon.

There's a difference in levels of about a dozen centimeters due to a curious collapse of the main span at that point.

The following closeup photo zooms in on the precise spot where a corner of the span appears to have suddenly dropped.

This incident must have scared shit out of the first driver who hit the bump. I wonder if he stopped to see what had happened, or whether he put his foot down on the accelerator to get the hell off the bridge for fear it might fall into the river. If ever his encounter with the bump had left him with a split second for philosophizing, he might have realized that he was face-to-face with what you could call an existential decision.

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