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Monday, January 31, 2011

The World's Strangest Bridges: Pont Gustave-Flaubert

Background: This vertical lift bridge crosses the Seine, one of France's major commercial waterways. With pylons that stand 282 feet tall, the Pont Gustave-Flaubert is Europe's tallest lift bridge.

Why It's Innovative: Instead of separating in the middle like a drawbridge, the Pont Gustave-Flaubert's deck is lifted straight up by a butterfly-shaped pulley system so tall ships can pass through. The deck takes about 12 minutes to be pulled all the way up, which happens about 30 or 40 times per year. MacDonald tells PM that using twin roadways allows more sunlight to penetrate the water under the bridge, an important consideration for the river's ecosystem.

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