The Pont de la Caille (also known as Pont Charles-Albert) on the former RN 201 in Haute-Savoie is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the world. It was built in 1839 over the Usses River by the engineer Belin. However, in 1929 another bridge was built next to it for a tramway line between Annecy and Geneva, called Pont Caquot (also known as Pont Neuf). However, the tramway was obviously never actually built, and so the bridge was opened to vehicles in 1939.
Originally, the Pont de la Caille was just going to be torn down, but luckily it was turned into a pedestrian bridge. It was then declared a historical monument in 1966 and today it is open to the public for free, with a souvenir shop and snack bar nearby. It offers a great view of the Alps and the valley below, and in the summer, you can climb up inside the towers to go even higher.
Ça caille au pont de la caille ! (Get it?)
Like a little castle.
About 192 meters long.
About 150 meters down. There used to be Roman baths down there, many, many years ago.
The other boring bridge for cars. The arch is pretty impressive though at 232 meters wide.
Both bridges will be under renovation from March 2009 to August 2010. Traffic will be diverted to the new viaduct over the Usses River that was built as part of the A41 highway extension that connects Villy-le-Pelloux (just north of Annecy) to St-Julien-en-Genevois (just south of Geneva) and which was just finished in December 2008.
Previously, the most direct route from Annecy to Geneva included the old RN 201 (now called the RD 1201), or if you wanted to take the highway, you had to go east towards Bonneville before you could go north on the A40 through Annemasse. Now you can get to Geneva from Annecy in 30 minutes, though it will cost you 5,50 € in tolls! But since most people who live near Annecy and work in Geneva make 3,000 € a month, I think they can afford it. Luckily, my trip to work takes the same amount of time, but costs only 4,20 € in tolls. Yet I make about 1/3 of what those who work in Switzerland make, so it doesn’t exactly equal out…