Civil engineering - France

Saint Etienne River, Reunion Island

View of the bridge at night
View of the bridge at night - © VINCI and subsidiaries

Reunion Island, 7:30 a.m., 25 February 2007. One of the nine piers of the bridge over the Saint Etienne River gives way under pressure of the high water caused by Tropical Cyclone Gamede. The bridge collapses like a house of cards. When the storm dies down, a ford is built across the riverbed to restore traffic 

Designed to withstand flooding and torrential rains
Replacing the old structure, the new bridge over the Saint Etienne River is deisgned to withstandthe island's flooding and torrential rains and to and carry daily traffic of nearly 60,000 vehicles. The facings of its eight piers have a ""sugar cane"" motif.

Conserving biodiversity
The Reunion Regional Council awarded the €95 million contract to a consortium made up of VINCI Construction companies. Dodin Campenon Bernard, Botte Fondations and SBTPC pooled their capabilities to perform the foundation, civil engineering and ancillary works. Special measures were adopted to conserve biodiversity throughout the works. 

Ensuring maximum safety
Another goal is to ensure maximum safety. The flow in the river can reach 6,000 m3/s in a hundred-year flood, compared to 5 m3/s under normal conditions. The new bridge, in two parts – one straight, the other curved – is 694.50 metres long and 34.19 metres wide, with four traffic lanes and two emergency lanes. It has seven 82 metre spans and two 60.25 metre embankment spans.