Fontaine Ravine Viaduct

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Fontaine Ravine Viaduct
Viaduc Fontaine Ravine
La Chaloupe St-Leu, Réunion Island, France
361 feet high / 110 meters high
558 foot span / 170 meter span
2009


The Ravine Fontaine is one of 4 high bridges on the recently constructed Route de Tamarins highway. Réunion Island is a French territory located east of Madagascar Island in the Indian Ocean. Just 35 miles (56 kms) across, the region has become a popular tourist getaway as well as a permanent home to more than 800,000 residents. Crossing dozens of huge ravines, the new route also required the construction of 3 tunnels and 9 interchanges. Second in height to the Grande Ravine bridge, the Ravine Fontaine is a rare steel arch bridge with inclined spandrels that give it a sunburst profile.

The Fontaine bridge has a dynamic, multidimensional shape that comes from a box beam arch rib that is deeper than it is wide at the foundation, only to flatten out as it rises to the crown. This is the inverse of the famous truss-arch rib on Eiffel’s Garabit Viaduct. To construct the Ravine Fontaine bridge over the deep gorge, the roadway and support spandrels were built outward at the same time as the arch, eliminating the need for a highline. To prevent the two halves of the arch from falling into the gorge, several cables were attached from the road deck down to the arch within each spandrel panel. When the next vertical spandrel support was built up to deck level and connected to another short span of roadway, the arch rib was built out a little further and the process repeated itself. Once the two sides of the arch were closed in the middle, the temporary cable stays were all removed from inside the spandrel panels.

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