The Roman Bridge in Saint-Vincent

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The Roman Bridge in Saint-Vincent

Description

The Roman bridge in Saint-Vincent was built during the Roman era to cross a narrow gorge over the Cillian stream, a tributary of the Dora Baltea.

Remarkable on account of its elegant design and clad in small, square, stones, the bridge would have been important not just as a natural crossing, but also as a symbol of strength and solid construction.

The bridge, one of the most important testimonials of Roman engineering along the Consular Road to gaul, was used until 1839 when, on 8 June, the rocky spur supporting the right side was destroyed, perhaps due to an earthquake, taking the central arch with it. There was another collapse in 1907, this time of the western arch, due to water infiltration.

An extensive restoration in 1939 consolidated the structure. The bridge’s remarkable construction was 49 metres long; the Consular Road to Gaul was 4.64 metres wide as it crossed the bridge, and was protected from the wind by high parapets and lit by small rectangular windows. The Saint-Vincent bridge was made up of three sections, of which only the main one was rounded, with a height of 9.71 metres.

The sides of the bridge supporting the arch were placed directly onto the rock of the gorge. The bridge’s central arch was joined to the rest of the road by two lateral, symmetrical sections placed at an obtuse angle, with blind arches clad in brick. Downstream, the arch and the blind arches were reinforced by buttresses. Only the left side of the bridge remains from the original construction over the Cillian stream following the collapse of the central arch in 1839. The imposing ravine, visible from the Montjovet state road, hints at the ancient majesty of the bridge and recalls how the consular road to Gaul used to cross this part of Valley.

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