Pont-Canal de l'Orb in Béziers

It was in 1684, shortly after the inauguration of the Canal du Midi, that Vauban first had the idea of ​​an aqueduct that would allow the Orb to be crossed. Up until then, passengers and goods arriving by the Canal were obliged to cross the Orb via a ferry going from one bank to the other, thus defying the very irregular flows of the river. But Vauban's idea was put aside, then other projects followed ... but none succeeded, often due to financial constraints.

Later, it was necessary to raise the course of the Orb by building a dike. This caused a silting of the river and especially did not produce the expected result despite the six outlets created, which allowed the flow of water, and therefore maintain the level of water necessary for navigation in the channel created with rows of navigators. The outlets were used according to the frequency of boats passing through. It was not enough.

The beginning of the XNUMXth century was marked by great floods, catastrophes and therefore the traffic of boats was disturbed on a permanent basis. The decision was made to build a bridge to pass the Canal du Midi over the Orb!

It was an engineer of the Canal, Urbain Maguès, who proposed in 1854 the current route which would be retained and in November 1857 the canal bridge was inaugurated. Commissioned in 1858, it has since been transporting the waterway and thus allows the crossing of the Orb at the foot of the acropolis of Béziers.

Built downstream of Fonserannes locks, the dimensions are rather significant. It is 240 meters long and 28 meter wide, 12 meters high, and with 7 arches, giving the aqueduct a certain elegance accentuated by the gallery which runs under the channe, to allow for maintenance work. It is one of the largest aqueducts in France and has been listed as a historic monument since August 29, 1962.

The structure is close to Fonsérannes Locks, making this a very pleasant place for visitors to go for a stroll, to admire the view of Saint Nazaire Cathedral.

The difficult crossing of the Orb before the aqueduct was built.
The difficult crossing of the Orb before the aqueduct was built.