List of French bridges shows 23 need repair work

The Millau viaduct near Aveyron was one of the few bridges deemed to be in good condition

A list of the 23 bridges in France that are in an “altered state” - of which two need very urgent repair work - has been published by the ministry of Transport.

The full list details 164 of the biggest French bridges across the road network, and highlights the 23 that have been deemed to require updates.

Two were judged to need very urgent repairs (“category 3U”): the viaduct at Echinghen, near to Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais), on the A16; and the viaduct at Caronte, on the A55, in Martigues (Bouches-du-Rhône).

Both bridges are currently undergoing work, with the second now said to be out of danger, but requiring a second inspection to confirm this.

A further 21 bridges were in “category 3”, meaning they need “repair work fairly soon but are not an emergency”; and the rest were in “category 2” meaning they have “minor defects”.

Just one bridge was judged to be in “category 1”, meaning it was “in an apparently good state”. Two others, the viaduct at Millau (Aveyron) and the Normandy bridge (Seine-Maritime et Calvados), were also in very good condition.

(Map created by France Info)

The list is based on data up to December 2017.

This means it has not taken into account more recent incidents, such as the collapse of a support pillar on the Gennevilliers viaduct on the A15, between Hauts-de-Seine and Val-d'Oise. Repairs on this are due to start before the end of September.

Of the entire list, 42 bridges are the direct responsibility of the State, with 122 others managed by motorway companies.

The list comes after transport minister Elisabeth Borne promised to publish it, following the collapse of the motorway bridge in Genoa in Italy on August 14, which killed 43 people.

Ms Borne sought to reassure the public that there was no danger, and that she had recently increased the budget for keeping bridges updated.

She said: “This classification of the condition of bridges is a tool to indicate any repairs needed, and how urgent they are. It does not translate into a security risk.

“We have some bridges that are not completely new [but] I did not wait for the Genoa catastrophe to begin working on their upkeep, or to take stock of the state of the national network.”

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