Renovation of the Saint-Michel tower in Bordeaux: a performance similar to the Panthéon site

Renovation of the Saint-Michel tower in Bordeaux: a performance similar to the Panthéon site

Installation of the metal frame and scaffolding should take until June 2023. (©Actu.fr / Nicolas Gosselin)

“We’ll go for it an exceptional phase of this reconstruction” announced Olivier Cazaux, deputy mayor of Bordeaux Sud, this Thursday, October 27, 2022, on the sidelines the titanium construction site of the Saint-Michel towerwhich should extend until the end of 2025.

Around the bell tower that has many irreparable cracks and other structural weaknessesthey activate the lifting device to climb monumental and unique scaffolding in France.

It will be around 700 tons and reaches the top more than 100 meters in heightto be able to reach the highest point of the building (114 meters), where it will be necessary to restore the top cross and its anchoring structure in the bell tower.

Project for 11.6 million euros

This pharaonic construction site that makes 11.6 million euros (at the expense of the city, the region and the state), is, according to Dimitri Boutleux, the deputy mayor responsible for creation and cultural expressions, historic: “It is technical performance comparable to reconstruction of the Pantheon (Editor’s note: since it was not possible to support the scaffolding on the dome, which was considered too fragile, engineers designed a structure of 430 tons of metal that surrounded the Pantheon…without touching it). Even the scaffolding of Notre-Dame Cathedral is not so monumental. »

The structure around the Saint-Michel tower indeed does the peculiarity of being self-sufficient. Unlike Notre-Dame, the scaffolding is not based on the building so as not to weaken it further, but on micropiles planted in the ground. The first platform, about 50 meters long, will therefore serve as a “stool” for the placement of the second part, the “classic scaffolding”, which climbs to the top.

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This extraordinary installation must allow the replacement of altered stones, the removal of cement joints and their repair with lime mortar or even the replacement of some metal parts.

“It’s not a wart”

With such height and such resistance to wind, all without resting on the belfry, the scaffolding of the Saint-Michel Tower is an engineering gem. “It’s not a wart, it is major project », enthuses Dimitri Boutleux. “This site will bring visitors,” gushes Olivier Cazaux, whom he is talking about “industrial tourism”.

Installation of the metal frame and scaffolding should take until June 2023.
Installation of the metal frame and scaffolding should take until June 2023. (©Actu.fr / Nicolas Gosselin)

While waiting for potential tourists, merchants in Place Meynard and other regulars from the area watch the parade of cranes and trucks with curiosity. According to estimates, the assembly and disassembly of the scaffolding alone should occupy the workers for a total of almost two years! It gives an idea of ​​the gigantism of the structure.

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