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A construction in many stages

Cité épiscopale d’Albi

The Pont-vieux was built in the 11th century, around 1040, at a time when economic development led to a more mobile populace and an increase in commercial traffic.

It was rebuilt in the 13th century, probably between 1220 and 1240 if we consider the evidence of the sandstone Gothic arches.

The bridge today is 151.44 metres long, with seven arches with spans varying from 9.75 to 16 metres. The arches rest on pillars that are between 5.60 and 6.75 metres thick. At the base of each pillar is a cutwater, triangular on the upstream side, to reduce the impact of the current, and rectangular on the downstream side.

At the level of the tympanum holes have been cut into the vaults, hidden by a dressing of the masonry. These allow the dead weight of the structure to be reduced, preserving only the ’dynamic’ part of the architecture.

The average width of the sandstone vaults is around 4.20 metres which, taking into account the parapets, means that the carriageway of the bridge was originally around 3.6-3.8 metres.

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