- Faidherbe Bridge
Infobox Bridge type
type_name = Faidherbe Bridge
image_title = General view of Faidherbe Bridge
ancestor_names = Faidherbe Bridge (
Pontoon 1865- 1897)
carries = Vehicles, Foot traffic
span_range = 507.35
movable = yes
design = "Nouguier, Kessler et Cie"
falsework = No
Faidherbe Bridge [fr icon [http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/inventai/extranet/revue/insitu3/d7/text/d7.pdf Saint–Louis du Sénégal, un enjeu pour le patrimoine mondial] ] is a road bridge over the
Sénégal Riverwhich links the island of the city of Saint-Louis in Senegalto the African mainland.
The city of Saint-Louis, [fr icon [http://www.elysee.fr/elysee/elysee.fr/francais/actualites/deplacements_a_l_etranger/2005/fevrier/fiches/senegal/l_ile_saint-louis-le_pont_faidherbe.27707.html Le pont Faidherbe (Ile Saint-Louis)] ] the first capital of the
French West Africais situated on an island near the estuaryof the Sénégal River. It is separated from the Atlantic Oceanby a thin 40 km [fr icon Boubou Aldiouma, [http://www.recherches-africaines.net/document.php?id=344 L’ouverture de la brèche de la Langue de Barbarie et ses conséquences - approche géomorphologique] in "Recherches Africaines" (secţiunea 1.1)] strip of sand called the Langue de Barbarie, which starts from Nouadhibouin Mauritaniaand extends all the way to Saint-Louis. The suburbs of "Guet Ndar" and "Ndar-Tout" are situated in this area.
All the way to the 19th century, access to the island was made through boats. The troups, horses and all the equipment of the French colonial army were moved with some very light boats which could break at any moment.
Louis Faidherbe, the governor of Senegal, [en icon [http://www.salysenegal.net/activites/excursions/excursionssaintlouisouis.htm www.salysenegal.net] ] inaugurated the "Bouteville" boat that was capable of transporting 150 passengers, animals and all kinds of goods. The boat made 10 crosses every day and the costs differed: five centimesfor a person, 50 centimesfor a horse, cowor camel, and two francs for a carrage.
In less than a year it was obvious that this system was overrun and a second boat was introduced but with no succes.
Seeing this, a
frigatecaptain "Robin", friend of Louis Faidherbe, asked the print Jerome Napoléon, "Minister of Algeria and the African Colonies", the approval for the construction of a floating bridge. Opened on July 2 1865, the bridge had a total length of 680 m (the floatring part of the bridge had a length of 350 m) and a width of four metres. The floating part was formed from 40 metal pontoons which supported a wooden deck. Three of these pontoons were specially designed so that it could be created a 20m gap so that large vessels could pass. The bridge was named Faidherbe Bridge by a decree of Napoleon III of France.
The opening in
1885of the Saint-Louis - Dakarrailway increased the traffic over the bridge. The railway reached all the way to " Soc" and all the goods hauled between the coast and the railway station had to cross over the bridge. To prevent the breakdown of the bridge a special decree was given so that the maximum weight for a vehicle that crosses the bridge to be less than one and a half tonnes.
With all its difficulties the bridge remained in service 32 years, until
1897when it was dismantled.
Construction of a new bridge
In the opening of his speech in the "General Council of Senegal", governor
Henri de Lamotheproposed that the country should take a loan for infrastructure development. The council agreed on a loan worth five million gold francs, much of the money being for the construction of a metallic bridge between Saint-Louis and "Soc". The loan was approved on November 21 1892by the French president Marie François Sadi Carnot. A French bank CDG, agreed to give the loan with a low interestof only four percent.
auctionwas organised by the "Ministry of Colonies" which sent to Senegalfive offers for evaluation.
After examining each one these offers the "Faidherbe Bridge Committee" selected two of them:
* the Nouguier, Kessler et Cie offer;
* the Société de Construction de Levallois-Perret (owned by
The "Faidherbe Bridge Committee" and the technical committee in
Parisagreed that the "Société de Construction de Levallois-Perret" project was the best for the site. On the other hand the president of the public works in Senegaland councilman Jean-Jacques Crespin supported the "Nouguier, Kessler et Cie" project. In the end the contract was awarded to "Nouguier, Kessler et Cie" at a price of 1.88 million gold francs.
Links between Faidherbe Bridge and King Carol I Bridge
There are many miths regarding the construction of the Faidherbe Bridge which are present even today and are depicted in some tourist guides. The construction of the bridge is attributed to
Gustave Eiffel. In general it says that the metallic parts of the bridge represents a gift from the French Governmentand that the parts were originally designed for the King Carol I Bridgeover the Danube Riverin Romania. Other sources say that the metallic parts were intended for a bridge in Austria-Hungaryover the Danube Riverin Viennaor Budapest. Finally another myth regarding the beams of the bridge says that the parts were intended for an unspecified site but the vessel transporting mysteriously sunk and the authorities in Senegaltook advantage of this situation and built a local bridge.
The information available in
Romaniafor the King Carol I Bridgein Cernavodaas well as the results of scientists in Francesay that the myths are pure fiction.
First of all the
Romanian Governmentnever finalised the construction contract with the company of Gustave Eiffelof with another foreign company, taking the decision to build the bridge only with local companies. The Cernavodabridge was made entirely by Romanians, fulfilling the design of Anghel Saligny, which was also the supervisor of the site. In these conditions, not knowing if the contract will be approved, it is unlikely that a foreign company would build the whole superstructure of the bridge. On the other hand, in Austria-Hungarythere was no need to construct a low bridge like the Faidherbe because of the trade routes.
Construction of the metallic bridge
The new bridge has a metal
deckformed with riveted girders. The bridge has in total eight spans of which one span of 42.95 m, two spans of 36.55 mand five spans of 78.26 m. The total length of the bridge is 507.35 mand the width is 10.5 m. The total weight of the deckis 1,500 tonnes. The second span from the city is mobile being capable of turning 45 degrees to let small ships to cross.
Opening of the bridge
A first opening of the bridge took place in the same day with the ceremonies for the national day of
Senegalin July 14 1897in the presence of governor Chabié. The ribbon for the access zone was cut by the governor's wife, then the officials walked a short distance to the mobile deck, which was opened to allow the passage of the military ship "L'Ardent". 21 cannon shots were fired at duskand dawnto commemorate the construction of the bridge and in that day there were organised ceremonies including horse races an donkeyraces.
The second opening was on
October 19 1897in the presence of André Lebon, the prime minister of the colonies.
Modernisation and rehabilitation works
After more than 100 years since it was opened the bridge is starting to suffer from
corrosionand it is in need of urgent repair.
The rehabilitaion works [fr icon [http://www.afd.fr/jahia/Jahia/home/activite/Transport/op/edit/pid/934 Sénégal : Projet de réhabilitation lourde du pont Faidherbe à Saint-Louis] ] are co financed by the
French Development Agency(AFD) and by the Government of Senegal. The total cost of the works was estimated to be US$ 27 million, of which US$ 17 million is from AFD and US$ 10 million is from the government
* [http://www.afddakar.sn/jahia/Jahia/lang/en/home/activite/Eau/pid/996 Bridge on AFD Website]
* [http://www.saintlouisdusenegal.com/english/index.php Bridge on saintlouisdusenegal.com]
*Bernard Toulier (November 2001). "Le réveil d’une capitale déchue". Patrimoine mondial, Saint–Louis du Sénégal, pp. 24–35.
* "Le pont Faidherbe", Dakar, GIA, 1967, 16 p.
* Abdoul Hadir Aïdara, «Au coeur de la ville. Le pont Faidherbe», dans "Saint-Louis du Sénégal d'hier à aujourd'hui", Grandvaux, 2004, pp. 59-65, ISBN 2-909550-43-5
* Guy Thilmans, "Le pont Faidherbe", Editions du CRDS, 2006
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