In order to boost the economic and cultural activity of the city of Laval, a medium-size French town located one hour away from Paris by TGV, the city council of Laval decided to have a new footbridge crossing the railways of its train station. Designed in order to open up some neighbourhoods of the city, and create more links inside the new transportation hub the footbridge is a promenade, accessible to both pedestrians and bicycles.
The footbridge spans up to 95m thanks to its steel primary structure, made of two longitudinal box girders linked by transversal T-beams every 2.3m. On one side, one of these box girders is supporting a 5-meter-wide cantilever pathway above the train tracks while on the other side one carry a built-in L-shaped wooden canopy, to shelter pedestrians from rain and wind. The footbridge is supported by very slender columns, able to deform to absorb the thermal expansion. One of the intermediary supports, being quite close to the train tracks, is made of a massive concrete block to resist potential train collisions and to provide the longitudinal stability the bridge needs.
In addition to the footbridge, many access devices have been provided (elevator cages, staircases and ramps), each one of them designed as completely independent structures.
Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes
Prix Régional de la Construction Bois en Pays de la Loire, winner of category Aménagement (transportation)