>@C. Alix/EIB
  • This third bridge over the Garonne river will relieve congestion in the centre of the urban area.
  • It will promote soft mobility, with a lane reserved for cyclists and pedestrians.
  • The project aims to promote economic and tourism development, while improving the living environment of residents.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Metropolitan Community of Agen have signed a €30 million finance contract for the Pont et Barreau de Camélat project, which is scheduled to enter service by the end of 2023.

This loan enables the Metropolitan Community of Agen to spread out its funding efforts, together with the contribution of the Lot-et-Garonne department and the French government, for the construction of a new 3 km road section, a third bridge over the Garonne river, a viaduct crossing the side channel of the river and a lane for cyclists and pedestrians. The project is the last step in completing Agen's western bypass. It will help to open up the north-east and south-east of the Lot-et-Garonne department, rebalance traffic between the left and right banks of the Garonne river and relieve congestion in the centre of Agen — particularly on the Pierre and Beauregard bridges — with estimated usage of 10 000 to 15 000 vehicles a day.

The project is part of a series of changes to the Agen area since the late 1990s, including structural projects aiming to promote economic and tourism development while improving the living environment of residents.

It features climate change mitigation measures promoting soft mobility, with the creation of a mixed-use track for pedestrians and cyclists, in accordance with the local authority's bicycle master plan. It will therefore support modal shift.

Respectful of local biodiversity and sufficiently resilient to withstand damage in the event of major flooding, this major piece of infrastructure for the Agen area also includes an environmental dimension with ecological restoration work taking place along the entire road corridor and the banks of the river. For example, extensive hedge planting along the route will ensure ecological continuity with the surrounding environment. Special care will be given to the recycling and recovery of materials.

Mayor of Agen and President of the Metropolitan Community Jean Dionis du Séjour said: “I am pleased to have found a partner that listens — the European Investment Bank — and to have put in place financing that is perfectly adapted to our constraints and needs with them. When you are financed by the EIB, you get support from experts in implementing long-term infrastructure projects that respect our environment.”

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle added: “I am delighted that the EU bank can contribute to financing this new bridge, which will have a positive impact on the development and attractiveness of the Agen area. This project's focus on respecting natural areas and making journeys smoother by promoting increased use of soft mobility meets the urban and environmental sustainability requirements the EIB sets itself for its investment choices.”

About the Metropolitan Community of Agen

Located between Bordeaux and Toulouse, the Metropolitan Community of Agen brings together 44 municipalities for a total population of almost 101 400. It is a dynamic area in the midst of economic change with jobs available for 152 365 people. With safeguarded quality of life and an accessible real estate market, the area is home to cutting edge businesses and has an attractive tax regime. Agen and the surrounding area were 16th in the Le Point 2020 list of the most attractive towns in France and 14th in the Cadre Emploi 2020 list for living and working in a green way.