iCandy: Bridges, Beams, and Bots in Bands

France’s vertical lift bridge, Nicaraguans bridging the laptop divide, and a true heavy metal band

1 min read

Willie Jones covers transportation for IEEE Spectrum, and the history of technology for The Institute.

iCandy: Bridges, Beams, and Bots in Bands
Photo: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters

Photo: Mehdi Fedouach/AFP/Getty Images
The Jacques Chaban-Delmas Bridge, which opened to traffic in March, is the largest vertical lift bridge in Europe. The 433-meter-long structure spans the Garonne River, which separates the Bacalan district in the west of Bordeaux from the Bastide district in the east. When large boats need to pass, the 118-meter-long central span can be raised as high as 53 meters above the water in 11 minutes. The two motors that lift the section don’t have to work too hard; counterweights in each of the four supporting pylons weigh 638 metric tons.

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