The consortium of local communities (SIVOM) of the region of Orléans decided in 1996 to organize a competition for the design and execution of a new bridge over the Loire River, linking the communities of Saint-Jean de la Ruelle at the north and Saint-Pryvé Saint-Mesmin at the south. The bridge would ameliorate suburban circulation. The design of Calatrava's winning competition entry refers in a symbolic way to the venerable Pont Royal (Pont George V).
The two fortress towers that flank each end of that historic structure reaffirm the Pont George V as an element that structures the city. In a contemporary way, this composition is reinterpreted in Calatrava's Pont d'Orlèans. The symmetrical piers, which are cut as modern bastions, create a new gateway for the city. The inclination of the arch stresses the dynamic image of the bridge, again signifying the entrance of the city. The steel bridge structure employs a suspended inclined arch standing on clear concrete pylons. The transverse section of the deck steps up, allowing pedestrians to enjoy from the higher pavement an overview of the city and the Loire embankments. The steel deck is composed of three sections; 88.2 meters (289 feet), 201.6 meters (661 feet), and 88.2 meters (289 feet), making a total length of 378 meters (1,240 feet).
The main section is suspended from the decentralized inclined arch by means of a double series of 28 hangers. With the buttresses at the lower embankment of the Loire, which are made of pre-stressed clear concrete, the bridge has an overall length of 470.6 meters (1,544 feet). The environmental impact of the pylons on the riverbed is reduced to the minimum, not only to accommodate for the instability of the soil but also to preserve the natural flow of the Loire bed and its ability to form a reflection. The concrete pylons and their mirror image in the water combine to create a the form of an elongated oval.
1996 - 2000
Pont de l'Europe
- ECCS European Steel Design Award 2001 for the Pont de l'Europe in Orléans