10 things to know about Luxembourg City’s Adolphe bridge

Source: wort.lu

Mit ihrem Bogendurchmesser von 84,65 Metern hielt die "Nei Bréck" einst den Weltrekord als größte Steinbogenbrücke der Welt.

Did you know that the “Pont Adolphe” in Luxembourg City was once a world-record holding bridge? Read on for more fun facts.

Did you know that…

1) … the Adolphe bridge once held a world record?

After three years of construction, Pont Adolphe officially opened for traffic on July 24, 1903. It’s parallel arches with a span of 84.65 metres earned the 153 metre long bridge the title of biggest stone arch bridge in the world! In 1905, the title would go to a bridge in Germany. Pont Adolphe was designed by French engineer Paul Séjourné.

2) … the bridge was named after a Grand-Duke?

Großherzog Adolphe war der Ururgroßvater von Großherzog Henri. Diese Statue in Gedenken an ihn wurde 2012 in Weilburg an der Lahn, Residenzstadt des Hauses Nassau-Weilburg, enthüllt.
Grand-Duke Adolphe. Foto: Marc Wilwert

The bridge was named after Grand-Duke Adolphe, who was head of state from 1890 and 1905. Adolphe was the great-great-grandfather of our current Grand-Duke Henri, and the first Luxembourg monarch of the House of Nassau-Weilburg. His predecessor was Guillaume III of the House of Orange-Nassau, who was also King of the Netherlands.

The Adolphe bridge was nicknamed “Néi Bréck” – or new bridge – at the time, because there was an older bridge – the “Al Bréck” – already in place, which had opened in 1861. Despite being over 110 years old now, Luxembourgers still refer to Pont Adolphe as the Néi Bréck.

3) … the bridge has been refurbished a number of times over the years?

In the 1930s, Pont Adolphe was refitted to accommodate an electric tram that then circulated through the capital, while in 1936 the railings on the side were replaced. The first major refurbishment took place in 1961, when the concrete surface was repaved and the bridge was widened by 60 cm on each side.

In 1976, the bridge was resurfaced, while the works that began last year will see it completely overhauled and once again refitted for the tram.

4) … that 1,000 iron rods will help stabilise the bridge?

Im Jahr 2003 wurde die Brücke mit 258 Eisenstangen stabilisiert. 2010 wurden die Stangen ersetzt.
In 2003 the bridge was stabilized with iron bars. Foto: Gerry Huberty

The major reason behind the large-scale refurbishment currently ongoing are cracks that were first detected in 1996. In 2003, some 258 iron fixtures were installed to stabilise the bridge, which were then partially renewed in 2010. Now the support system will be overhauled, with 1,000 3.2cm diameter iron rods to be installed.

5) … that the original stones will be kept?

Die „Original-Wappen“ werden erneuert. Dafür wurden sie zunächst per Laser eingescannt. Steinmetze werden anschließend zwei neue Löwen anfertigen.
The original coat of arms will be renewed.  Foto: Paul Hinger

Over the past weeks, lorries have been carting away stones removed from the arch structure. The bridge will be dismantled down to the arches during the construction works. However, the stones are numbered and taken away for cleaning to be reused when the bridge is put back together in 2016.

6) … that the refurbished bridge will be over one metre wider than before?

To make way for the tram, the bridge has to be extended on both sides by 75 cm. The general look of the bridge will change little, however, although the crests on its sides will have to be renewed because of the new lanes added. There will be two lanes for the tram and two lanes for traffic.

7) … that the blue replacement bridge is only rented?

Weil die "Blo Bréck" anfangs gewaltig quietschte und knirschte, wurde sie von einem Anrainer auf den Spitznamen "Plobréck" getauft.
The so-called Blue Bridge.  Foto: Marc Wilwert

To allow the flow of traffic to continue during construction, a temporary bridge was installed across the Pétrusse valley, right next to the Adolphe bridge. This so-called Blue Bridge is only rented, however, and once disassembled will be returned to the manufacturer.

8) … that the Blue Bridge has earned itself a nickname too?

When the Blue Bridge opened in 2014 it became apparent that the metal structure caused considerable noise in heavy traffic. Local residents complained and some changes were made to limit noise pollution in the area. Nonetheless, the bridge is often referred to as the “Plobréck”, with “Plo” the Luxembourgish word for plague and a word game on “Blo”, which means blue.

9) … that the bridge is wrapped in “bandages”?

Ein beliebtes Fotomotiv: Der riesige Verband, der Anwohner und Passanten während der Arbeiten vor Lärm und Staub schützt.
“Heal the Adolphe Bridge”  Foto: Serge Waldbillig

The tarpaulin that was stretched across the scaffolding surrounding the bridge is designed to resemble bandages. Not only is the cover aimed at protecting the surrounding area from falling debris, dust, water used for cleaning and noise, but it also ties in with the information website healtheadolphebridge.lu

10) … that there is a special exhibition on the refurbishment?

At a pavilion on Boulevard Roosevelt curious minds can take a look at construction plans for the bridge. The visitor centre is open Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 6pm and on Wednesday from 8am to 2pm.