When new TGV rail lines were built from France’s Atlantic coast through La Roche-sur-Yon, a new pedestrian bridge was needed to cross the tracks safely. New York-based architect Bernard Tschumi and French firm Hugh Dutton Associés rose to the challenge with this beautiful tubular lattice bridge that connects the old center of the town with the newer districts across the tracks. The new pedestrian bridge was inaugurated in February and now stands as a striking contemporary statement for the town.
Inspired by the work of Gustave Eiffel, the new footbridge, is composed of lateral beams with a diagonal mesh of small plate strips that are riveted together. Pedestrian bridges over railways require lateral protection for both the train as well as the pedestrians, hence the tubular structure. The bridge spans 67 meters with a concrete deck and uses 130 tons of steel. It was painted bright red on purpose — the color was chosen to “emphasize the urban significance of the bridge as a pedestrian vector.”
The new bridge acts as an important thoroughfare for residents of the town to travel safely from the new neighborhoods to the historic city, founded by Napolean. Equally important are the new TGV rail lines below, which serve to transport residents and visitors to and from the other parts of France as well as the Atlantic coastal towns via low carbon rail transportation.