Montpellier: metal poles planted in front of elms on the Comédie

Montpellier: metal poles planted in front of elms on the Comédie

The height of the crane indicates how high the horns should extend. (©CN/Metropolitan)

A new stage in decorating work Place de la Comédie in Montpellier, this Thursday with installation metal rods intended for strengthen the structure of the parking lot. Necessary operation to create pits that can accommodate eight 8m high elms at the end of 2023. Parking lot at Comedy which is also contributed to some upgrades.

The return of the elms to Montpellier

Behind the palisades installed on the Place de la Comédie since September, workers from Darver, based in Castries, are preparing three pits that will fit eight 8m high elms in November 2023. An imperative that forced Metropolis to find a nursery school in the Netherlands. “It is the only company that can supply us with trees of this size. French regulations do not allow nurseries to control enough land to grow trees of this size,” explains Fanny Dombre-Coste.

A view of the Place de la Comédie when the elms are planted.
A view of the Place de la Comédie when the elms are planted. (©City of Montpellier)

“They are a variety that allows them to resist some elm diseases and they reach a height of 12 meters. The elm is the historic tree of Montpellier,” the first deputy specifies. The rural elm, used in the 19th century for the development of the promenade and the royal square of Peyrou, was decimated by epidemics of graphiosis from the 1920s. In Ecusson, the Om plan – the reduction of the place of the elm or Ormeau – still preserves the memory of the importance of this tree, where in the 17th century news about the life of the town was announced.

Strengthen the structure of the parking lot

Two pits get 225m3 earth and three elms and the third 150m3 land and two elms. In order to be able to carry 650 and 550 tons, a parking lot structure consolidation operation is necessary. Eleven metal columns, 8 m high and weighing 180 tons, are inserted by truck crane from the square to level -4, where the Montpellier sand and concrete foundations have been created, crossing all the parking floors. After installation, the steel posts will be scrapped and filled with concrete to ensure the stability of the unit and serve as support for future tree pits.

Receiving metal posts at level -4.
Receiving metal posts at level -4. (©CN/Metropolitan)

The three tree pits will be completed in May 2023, with lining work to follow in the autumn. As agreed with the merchants, the Place de la Comédie will experience a lull in the summer. “We would like the palisades to disappear when the pits are finished. We are working on something nice for these pits to announce the arrival of the trees,” confides Laurent Nison, delegate of Major Works. Renewal of the site in September with the renovation of the floors and therefore in November 2023 the planting of eight elm trees.

Modernization of the Comedy parking lot

This construction work to strengthen the car park is also an opportunity to prepare for the creation of a new vehicular entrance from Avenue Frédéric Mistral, effective before 2024, thus offering a more direct access from the eastern entrance to the city. To the west, the entrance on the Boulevard Victor Hugo side and the Comédie tunnel are preserved.

The current entrance via Sarrail boulevard, where traffic will be halved and become a shared space with priority for pedestrians, will also be a two-way ramp dedicated to cyclists to access level -1.

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Level -1 of the Comédie car park will become a traffic hub.
Level -1 of the Comédie car park will become a traffic hub. (©City of Montpellier)

At the end of 2023, this level of the Comédie car park will be “an important traffic junction”, points out Fanny Dombre-Coste. If the number of places for cars increases from 835 to 738, mainly due to the three pits, there will be 250 places for motorcycles, bicycles, cargo bikes… Several electric charging stations for bicycles and cars will be installed.

The work, during which the staircase giving access to the Place de la Comédie in front of the Gaumont, will be moved to “find a flow in the square”. Construction site (pits and parking) for less than €2.5 million, when the total envelope for the Comédie-Esplanade project is €50 million.

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