In the department of Eure-et-Loir, the previous campaign of animation panels dated back to 1999. Since then, new challenges for the development of tourism in the territory have been identified and the new approach undertaken with the departmental council in 2017 has given led to several projects on the two sections of the A10 and A11 motorways. The twenty-three new cultural and tourist animation signs on these two roads were validated by Régine Engström, prefect of the Centre-Val de Loire region, last April. They represent the natural and built heritage of Eure-et-Loir.
The Department, the manager Vinci Autoroutes as well as the municipalities of Gallardon, Épernon, Maintenon, Bonneval, Thiron-Gardais, Châteaudun and Nogent-le-Rotrou as well as the Perche Regional Nature Park and the museum of 1870 of Loigny-la-Bataille worked for their realization. “A beautiful enhancement”, according to Stéphane Lemoine, vice-president in charge of road infrastructure.
Thus, on the 85 km of the A11, sixteen panels will be put up by the end of July, just like the seven spread over the 41 km of the A10. Every day, more than 85,000 vehicles use these expressways. Among the twenty-three new signs produced since 2018, Le Combray de Proust appears on a six-by-three meter panel. Chartres, the art of stained glass and its cathedral as well. Moreover, this panel has been the subject of an exceptional derogation as regards the choice of the colors of the decoration, by integrating Chartres blue. “It’s a great first in Eure-et-Loir and it’s very rare in France”, assures Guillaume Lapiere, Cofiroute operations manager.
The Royal College of Stéphane Bern in the spotlight
It must be said that the rules for these panels, which we all know, are very strict, both in terms of their location in space and their graphic charter: “In addition to white, only four shades of brown with a graphic code common to all the panels,” he summarizes. In addition, the theme highlighted on the aluminum structure must be linked to a site that can be seen from the highway or that can be visited within a radius of about thirty kilometers.
On these panels made in Urrugne, in the French Basque Country (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), “we can’t do just anything”, specifies Guillaume Lapiere. “We cannot advertise or mention living people. » The decor and graphics drawn are checked to ensure that they comply with the regulations. At the very bottom, in the foreground, we therefore find a visual element in white, “a flower, a horse or even a swan”. At the very top, a title, “always written in white on a dark brown background”. And in the central part, the highlighting of the main theme of cultural and tourist objects.
On the imposing panels that mark out the Cofiroute network, the Royal and Military College of Thiron-Gardais, property of Stéphane Bern, has also been selected, as have the fortified farms of Beauce and the Way of Freedom. This joint work with local actors, the motorway concessionaire and the Department began in April 2019. This facelift has a double interest for the company. The first concerns road safety. “The first risk is hypovigilance, drowsiness and falling asleep at the wheel, list Guillaume Lapiere. Marking out a user’s journey with animated signs allows him to position himself in the territory and keeps him awake. The second interest is to “consolidate our links with the territories and allow our users to know where they are and, possibly, to get them off the motorway to visit the surroundings. The cost of the operation, borne solely by the motorway manager, amounts to approximately 450,000 euros.