ponts allonzier la caille

Ponts Allonzier la Caille

Between Annecy and Geneva, you will admire the Ponts of Allonzier la Caille.

Charles Albert Bridge, more known as the Pont de la Caille, in Allonzier is 142 meters above the Usses river.

The former (11 July 1839) and the new road bridge (Pont Caquot) in the background.

Upon its opening in 1928, the Caille arch bridge became the world’s longest and highest concrete arch span. Among all of the world’s bridges, only Sidi M’Cid in Constantine, Algeria and next door neighbor Pont Charles Albert were as high or higher. Built to bypass the 1839-built, one lane Charles Albert suspension bridge, the 451 foot (137 mtr) long span is the handiwork of Albert Caquot, one of the greatest French bridge engineers of his day. A genius with more than 300 civil engineering projects to his credit, Caquot was especially talented when it came to reinforced concrete. His unique Lafayette bridge in Paris, with its huge concrete lattice trusses, was an innovative structure and the largest bridge of its type in the world. Other projects included a river lock on the Rhone and the largest tidal power plant in the world on the Rancid in Brittany. The first and second World Wars guided him into the aeronautical industry. In 1928, the year Caille opened, he became the technical managing director of the Ministère of the Air and assisted with the construction of the largest plane testing wind tunnel in the world.

To construct the Caille bridge over such a deep gorge, Caquot first had small towers and a set of suspension cables erected across the canyon. Pieces of timber were then hung from the suspension cables to create a centring support formed in the shape of the arch that would be constructed on top of it. The timber centring arch itself was an artistic engineering marvel with a dense web of lattice trussing.

In 2009 and 2010, the bridge will be undergoing a total renovation including a complete demolition and replacement of the deck and sidewalks as well as major concrete replacement and repairs to the entire rest of the structure including the arch and spandrel supports. Today, the new Caille bridge still stands as Europe’s second highest arch bridge while the Charles Albert bridge next to it is still Europe’s highest suspension span.

If you are driving along the “route nationale” from Annecy to Geneva, you can not miss the Ponts of Allonzier la Caille!

They just finished a new parking area next to it, so you can stop and walk on the old bridge and take nice photos!

If you are there early morning, check the field on the left after the bridge (when coming from Annecy), as you might see some deers or wild goats (they are living down below in the rocks but when hungry they are coming up for breakfast and they are so beautiful). You could also hike down to the former thermal center.

We also nickname it the “Suicidal Bridge”…Local people have a “joke”: instead of saying I am not well at all today, they might say “I want to jump from Allonzier Bridge”. Unfortunately, some people really do…but most of the them go there enjoy the view, get scared because of the high and go back home…


ponts allonzier la caille
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