Mont-St-Michel project

This item appears on page 75 of the November 2010 issue.
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The long-term project to turn Mont St. Michel, France, back into an island is progressing. The estuarine tidal island — a granite pinnacle located a kilometer off of Normandie in northwest France — is famous for its abbey that was carved deep into the rock from the 11th to 15th centuries.

The plan is for the tides and the river Couesnon to slowly scour away the sand and silt that has built up around the island over centuries. A short distance up the river, a hydraulic dam with sluice gates now closes during high tide to prevent water from moving upstream. Sedimentation of the inner bay and salt marshes will proceed naturally.

Currently, vehicles park in lots on mudflats which often are under water during high tide. (Tidal levels nearby can vary by 15 meters.) Those lots will be removed and a new car park built on the mainland; construction began in August. A kilometer-long bridge to replace the road causeway (once a natural land bridge) is to be completed in 2015, and visitors will walk it or take a shuttle.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts huge crowds to its abbey and the shops, restaurants and hotels lining a medieval street. All will remain open during the project.

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

The long-term project to turn Mont St. Michel, France, back into an island is progressing. The estuarine tidal island — a granite pinnacle located a kilometer off of Normandie in northwest France — is famous for its abbey that was carved deep into the rock from the 11th to 15th centuries.

The plan is for the tides and the river Couesnon to slowly scour away the sand and silt that has built up around the island over centuries. A short distance up the river, a hydraulic dam with sluice gates now closes during high tide to prevent water from moving upstream. Sedimentation of the inner bay and salt marshes will proceed naturally.

Currently, vehicles park in lots on mudflats which often are under water during high tide. (Tidal levels nearby can vary by 15 meters.) Those lots will be removed and a new car park built on the mainland; construction began in August. A kilometer-long bridge to replace the road causeway (once a natural land bridge) is to be completed in 2015, and visitors will walk it or take a shuttle.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts huge crowds to its abbey and the shops, restaurants and hotels lining a medieval street. All will remain open during the project.