Viaduct of Fades

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Viaduct of Fades
Viaduc des Fades
Sauret-Besserve, Auvergne, France
435 feet high / 133 meters high
473 foot span / 144 meter span
1909

Image by Jean Michel.


The third highest railway bridge in the world upon its completion in 1909, the Viaduct of Fades has a deep lattice truss supported on two massive masonry piers nearly 302 feet (92 mtrs) high. The huge rectangular truss measures nearly 23 feet (7 mtrs) wide by 40 feet (12 mtrs) high. Crossing 435 feet (133 mtrs) above the Sioule River, the Fades Viaduct still holds its own as one of the 20 highest railway bridges in the world.

The huge truss bridge was constructed between October 28th, 1901 and September 11th, 1909. The bridge was inaugurated on October 10, 1909 and was put into service on October 20, 1909.

The tallest pier on Fades measures 92.3 meters and was the tallest pure concrete and masonry bridge pier in the world along with Switzerland's 99 meter tall Sitter Viaduct (depending on where you measure the top). The rectangular base of Fades is 21.96 by 11.64 meters. It was not until 1942 when the 109 meter piers of California's Pit River Bridge surpassed Fades and Sitter. In 1964 Austria's Europabrücke opened with a taller pier of 145 meters. Europabrücke was surpassed in 1974 by Italy's Rago Viaduct with piers 147 meters tall. Germany's 178 meter tall Kochertalbrücke piers brought the record to Germany for 25 years before the pier height record finally returned to France with the 245 meter tall pier of the Millau Viaduct.

Prior to Fades and Sitter, the tallest bridge pier was the all steel 97.5 meter main tower of the Gokteik Viaduct in Burma. Before Gokteik the tallest steel bridge pier was the central tower of the Kinzua Viaduct at 87 meters. Before Kinzua the 1862 Grandfrey Viaduct of Switzerland held the record with steel and stone piers 79.5 meters high. In 1857 the Crumlin Viaduct was the tallest with purely steel piers 64 meters tall while the 1856 Sitter Viaduct had stone and iron piers of approximately 56 meters in height. The 1852 Portage Viaduct had masonry and timber piers of 67 meters. Prior to Portage there were few true "piers" of great height, only stone aqueducts such as the Pont Roquefavour in France and the Ponte Delle Torri in Spoleto, Italy with structural heights of 82 meters. Spain's Puente Nuevo or New Ronda Bridge also has a structural height in the 100 meter height range though the masonry walls hug the sides of the gorge cliff more like a giant foundation then a true stand-alone pier or aqueduct.



Viaduct of Fades Elevation


Viaduct of Fades image by Ber' Colly. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33960023@N04/


Viaduct of Fades image by Ber' Colly. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33960023@N04/


Image by Jean-Paul Soulier.


Image by Jean-Paul Soulier.


Viaduct of Fades image by Ber' Colly. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33960023@N04/


Viaduct of Fades postcard.


Viaduct of Fades postcard.


Viaduct of Fades postcard.


Viaduct of Fades postcard.


Viaduct of Fades postcard.


Viaduct of Fades postcard.


Viaduct of Fades postcard.


Viaduct of Fades postcard.


Viaduct of Fades postcard.

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