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Pont de Neuilly

Centuries of Civil Engineering

Perronet, Jean-Rodolphe (1708-1794)
Description des projets et de la construction des ponts de Neuilly, de Mantes, d'Orléans & autres; du projet du canal de Bourgogne, pour la communication des deux Mers par Dijon.
Paris, De l'Imprimerie royale, 1782-83.
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Jean-Rodolphe Perronet was the first director of the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees in Paris, and one of the first great masters of the low-arch bridge. He was the first to recognize that for bridges of equal spans, the intermediate piers carry only vertical loads and can be made quite thin. His bridges were consequently quite light and elegant. The Pont de Neuilly, built over the Seine by Perronet, has 5 arches of 128 feet span each, yet the piers are only 13 feet thick. So that the piers did not thrust sideways during construction, all five arches had to be constructed simultaneously. King Louis XV was impressed by all the centering that had been erected to support the arches and wanted to see the decentering process, so Perronet arranged for all the centering to collapse simultaneously into the Seine before the eyes of the King and the rest of Parisian society. It was quite an occasion.

The engraving shows the Pont de Neuilly just after the centering had been released and fallen into the river.

 

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