C&L, Cranes & Lifting, International, Projects

Sarens loads out 840-tonne Pont Colbert bridge amid challenging tide conditions

Pont Colbert bridge lifted and installed by Sarens in France

Global engineered heavy lifting company, Sarens, has loaded out the 840-tonne, 136-year-old Pont Colbert bridge in Dieppe, France.

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Completing the project for client, Eiffage Métal, Sarens was contracted to help load the Pont Colbert bridge out so that it could be renovated and reinstalled. To complete the project, Sarens mobilised eight CS250 climbing systems, four SPMTs, four hydraulic winches, 24 ballast pumps, 12 5800mm x 2750mm bridges, and rented in the CC Baltic barge.

The project was not as cut and dry as providing the equipment, however. In tandem with the Pont Colbert’s gritty history that has seen it survive WWII bombings and grow to support a daily traffic flow of 12,000 vehicles, Sarens was well aware the engineering solution required would be equally as complex, demanding, and technical.

Making the project difficult was the consistently changing tides and water levels that meant, according to calculations, the load out could only be completed on one specific day. According to Sarens, if the window were to be missed, the project would have been postponed by weeks – for example, the water level rose eight metres in the span of under six hours, underlining the critical, meticulous nature of the operation.


The project’s location added another layer of difficulty: because the work site was in the middle of the city, the equipment was positioned in the street for offloading as traffic continued to flow around it.

But the team faced yet another hurdle: the quayside was not strong enough to support the weight of both SPMTs and the bridge. To counteract this challenge, a long, heavy beam was installed over two strong points on the quay so that the load could safely be driven over it.

Almost all the equipment arrived via 40 truckloads, where it was then installed in phases. The jacking equipment, however, presented the biggest rigging challenge because it had to be installed under the bridge and in a difficult-to-access pit.

With everything prepared and in place, it was time for the offload and transport operation. The crew moved the 840-tonne, 70-metre-long Pont Colbert bridge safely and securely despite quickly changing water conditions that the team adapted to by ballasting the barge.

The bridge was jacked up and loaded out, then driven from the quay straight onto the barge, transferred to the port, driven from the barge onto the other quay, rotated 180 degrees, and finally set down at the restoration site.

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