Capital of a new canton
Grand-Pont (The Big Bridge)
Connecting Bel-Air to Saint-François by spanning the Flon Valley and its public transportation interface, the Grand-Pont is the nerve centre of Lausanne. Located literally in the heart of the city, it offers remarkable views, particularly of the Cathedral.
Built from 1839 to 1844, it, along with the Barre Tunnel, is one of the two key elements of the new road circling the city, developed by the cantonal engineer Adrien Pichard and constructed mainly between 1839 and 1862. This “belt”, which circles the medieval city with gently sloping roads just outside the walls – rue Caroline, Dr-César-Roux, the Tunnel – was meant to solve the problem of travelling from one end of Lausanne to the other, while taming its uneven terrain.
The Grand-Pont was originally 180 metres long, reaching 25 metres at its greatest height and using two levels of 5 and 19 arches, respectively. Filling the Flon Valley made the lower level disappear in 1874. This monumental work radically changed the southwest view of the city, drawing out its outer limits. It became the symbol of the modern city and the industrial revolution that was beginning.