Monday, November 30, 2020

1884 Viaduc de Garabit Bridge and 1889 Eiffel Tower

Eiffel's Bridge: (Satellite)
Eiffel Tower: (Satellite)

Both of these iron structures were built by Gustave Eiffel. (These structures were built before steel was developed.) This video taught me about this bridge. Note that he built the bridge five years before he built his famous tower in Paris.

He chose a lacy truss to offer less resistance to the strong winds in the valley. "The viaduct was constructed between 1882 and 1884 and opened to rail traffic in November 1885. The structure is 565m (1,854 ft) long and the span of the principal arch is 165m (541 ft). The 448m (1,470 ft) long metal deck is flanked by two masonry viaducts of 46m (151 ft) and 71m (233 ft) in length and is supported by five wrought iron piers the two tallest of which are 80m (262 ft) high. It carried a single railway line 120m (400 ft) above the Truyere River and was for many years the tallest bridge in the world. However, the construction in 1959 of the Grandval dam on the Truy√®re created a 28km long reservoir and the raised water level is today 95m (311 ft) below the bridge deck.​" [BridgesOfDublin

This view shows how the arch narrows and deepens as it rises.
CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

"The largest and highest railway arch bridge in the world at the time of its completion in 1884, Eiffel’s Garabit Viaduct was completed just 5 years before his famous tower in Paris. Eiffel had previously designed the Maria Pia, the world’s longest steel [sic] arch bridge in 1877 in Oporto, Portugal. The opening of the Garabit Viaduct made it the only time in history that the world’s 3 highest bridges were all within one country. The highest was the 1839-built Charles Albert suspension bridge. In second place was the 1882 Pont Chatelet arch bridge. Garabit was the third. That feat will be repeated again in 2010 when China finally opens the Balinghe bridge which will join the Siduhe and Beipanjiang (2003) bridges as the world’s 3 highest. (Assuming you don’t count the Hegigio Gorge Pipeline span as a bridge)." [HighestBridges]

HighestBridges, this site has many more images of the bridge, both old and new
Garabit Viaduct postcard.

The train helps provide scale.
Garabit Viaduct postcard.

Jean Michel DHAINAUT, Mar 2017

After seeing this post soon after I saw the bridge, I was motivated to research both.
safe_image for Origins and Construction of the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel's company won a contest to build a monument for the 1889 World's Fair. It was actually designed by his employees Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier. At 300m (984') high, it stood as the tallest structure in the world until the Chrysler Building was built in 1930 in New York City. At first, many hated it because they thought it would fall down and/or it was an eyesore. But it proved to be a very popular exhibit. It was supposed to be removed after 20 years, but because of its popularity and its usefulness as a radio antennae, it survived. [LiveScience] "It welcomes more visitors than any other paid monument in the world—an estimated 7 million people per year. Some 500 employees are responsible for its daily operations, working in its restaurants, manning its elevators, ensuring its security and directing the eager crowds flocking the tower’s platforms to enjoy panoramic views of the City of Lights." []

Street View

Eiffel Tower fun facts

  • Gustave Eiffel used latticed wrought iron to construct the tower to demonstrate that the metal could be as strong as stone while being lighter.
  • Eiffel also created the internal frame for the Statue of Liberty.
  • Construction of the Eiffel Tower cost 7,799,401.31 French gold francs in 1889, or about $1.5 million.
  • The Eiffel Tower is 1,063 feet (324 meters) tall, including the antenna at the top. Without the antenna, it is 984 feet (300 m).
  • It was the world's tallest structure until the Chrysler Building was built in New York in 1930.
  • The tower was built to sway slightly in the wind, but the sun affects the tower more. As the sun-facing side of the tower heats up, the top moves as much as 7 inches (18 centimeters) away from the sun.
  • The sun also causes the tower to grow about 6 inches.
  • The Eiffel Tower weighs 10,000 tons.
  • There are 5 billion lights on the Eiffel Tower.
  • The French have a nickname for the tower: La Dame de Fer, "the Iron Lady."
  • The first platform is 190 feet above the ground; the second platform is 376 feet, and the third platform is almost 900 feet up.
  • The Eiffel Tower has 108 stories, with 1,710 steps. However, visitors can only climb stairs to the first platform. There are two elevators.
  • One elevator travels a total distance of 64,001 miles (103,000 kilometers) a year.

Jean-Jacques Marchi posted four really nice photos. And a comment by Jeff Lewis has a photo of Eiffel's predecessor bridge in Porto, Portugal.

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