TRAVELLING around the historic city of Rouen is set to become a little easier from today, as Pont Mathilde will reopen to traffic at 5pm, 22 months after it was damaged in a fire.
A series of celebratory events were due to take place on the bridge between 11am and 3pm, before it is cleared and made ready for the first vehicles to cross.
In October 2012, the bridge was closed after the fire, started by a collision involving a heavy goods vehicle, made the structure unsafe for the estimated 80,000 vehicles that used it every day.
The fire damage meant that a 40m, 1,000-tonne stretch had to be replaced. The new section was built in Belgium and transported on a special industrial barge on the Seine.
Once it had arrived at the damaged bridge, it took several more hours to put into place.
Work to repair the bridge had started in September 2013, a month before the driver of the lorry was given an eight-month suspended sentence for causing the collision that led to the fire.
France 3 screengrab