The era of concrete
Not only does it take a great deal of money to build a concrete bridge, arriving at such a decision can take many years, too. Such was the fate of the pont de Pérolles, which would be a total of 60 years in the making. In 1908, the authorities launched a design competition for a bridge that would serve the rail line between Fribourg and Bulle, via La Roche and Plaffeien. The problem was that when work began on the bridge in 1920, the rail project had yet to be finalised. So, a road bridge was built instead. However, before construction work could get under way, the authorities had to pledge to their citizens that the building of the pont de Zähringen would be next on their list; shopkeepers in the area were already worried that “custom” would move to Pérolles, in the upper part of the city. Therefore, to allay the public’s fears, the first stone of the future pont de Zähringen was blessed during the pont de Pérolles inauguration ceremony.
One of the proposals submitted in the 1908 design competition involved a habitable bridge; it caused a media storm. A similar idea was put forward in 2014, which would have seen the construction of 100 homes along the Zähringen bridge.
It was a Graubünden man, Richard Coray, who built the scaffolding needed to construct the pont de Pérolles. He would later use it again for the pont de Zähringen.