In Montluçon, the Nicauds footbridge will not be restored: “A new part of our heritage will be erased”

” Too bad. ”The residents of the Nicauds footbridge invariably have only these two words in their mouths when we talk about the announced disappearance of the pedestrian crossing of the Cher.

Some are fatalistic, others are upset against the decision of the town hall to abandon the 19th century footbridge to its sad fate. Closed since the passage in 2014 of a control office, which considered the structure dangerous, it should be deconstructed, said the municipal majority during the city council last week.

In Montluçon, the Nicauds footbridge will not be renovated to the chagrin of the municipal opposition

“We have chosen to build a footbridge a little further upstream, which will cost half the cost of restoring the existing footbridge. This will be done within the framework of the C Montluçon project and will make it possible to create access for pedestrians and bicycles to the station ”, specifies today Pierre Laroche, deputy in charge of the living environment, without giving precise figures – in 2014 , the rehabilitation of the Nicauds footbridge had been estimated at 650,000 euros by the town hall.

The Nicauds footbridge remains closed (November 2014)

What residents think

“Not only is this footbridge part of the heritage, but it was used, in particular by the student police officers who joined the station from the barracks”, remarks Monique Charrière, on the left bank.

Born after the war in a house ten meters from the footbridge, she now lives in the house opposite. “I myself go to the city a lot less now that it is closed,” she notes.

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One New Year’s Day, Bernard and Monique Charrière saw an Austin Mini roll over the catwalk.

“I have known the great floods. The water was flush with the footbridge, it held up despite the coming trees. We can regret that it has never been well maintained ”, she continues.

On the other side, Stéphane Gauthier, a younger local resident, sings the same refrain. “The catwalk was convenient for a lot of people and has its charm. “His wife abounds:” Renovated, she would be very beautiful. “

“Renovated, the catwalk would be very beautiful”, remark Stéphane and Corinne Gauthier, here with Thomas Groleau.

A vestige of industrial history

Built in 1895, the Nicauds footbridge is one of the rare vestiges of the industrial era in a city which has almost razed all its large chimneys, filled in the Berry canal and built shopping areas in place of its old factories.

A petition has been launched online asking Mayor Frédéric Laporte to consult Montluçonnais on the subject. “A new part of our heritage will be erased. Frédéric Laporte spoke in favor of the citizens’ initiative referendum during a pre-electoral meeting. We ask him to implement it for this project, ”says Thierry Auvie, member of La France insoumise, and former running mate of Frédéric Kott (DVG), at the origin of the petition.

The Nicauds footbridge was built by the Lassault company in 1895.

“There are other ways of promoting the industrial heritage of the city”, indicates for his part the deputy Pierre Laroche, while the majority committed during the campaign to “highlight a set of pieces inherited from our industrial history ”, as part of the“ creation of an industrial museum itinerary ”.

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Guillaume Bellavoine

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