Anghel Saligny

Anghel Saligny (April 19, 1854, Şerbăneşti – June 17, 1925, Bucharest) was a great Romanian engineer, forerunner of metal and concrete construction science.

His father, Alfred Saligny, an educator, was a French immigrant to Romania. He started his studies at the boarding school founded by his father in Focşani, then went on to high school, initially also in Focşani and then in Potsdam, Germany. He pursued astronomy at the University in Berlin - as a student of Hermann von Helmholtz, and engineering studies at the Polytechnic Institute in Charlottenburg (1870-1874), and then contributed to the construction of railways in Saxony (Cottbus-Frankfurt). He was a founding member of the Bucharest Polytechnic Society (the precursor to today's Bucharest Polytechnic Institute) - and its president between 1895-1897 and 1910-1911 - and was even appointed a Minister of Public Works. In 1892, he was elected a member of the Romanian Academy, and he served as its president between 1907 and 1910. Anghel Saligny's brother Alfons Oscar Saligny (1853–1903) was a chemist and educator who was also elected a member of the Romanian Academy.

He drew the plans for the Adjud–Târgu Ocna, which included the first mixed-use (railway and highway) bridges in Romania (1881–1882). He was also involved in the construction of numerous other metallic bridges, such as the one at Cosmeşti over the Siret River, which measured 430 m in length. Between 1884 and 1889, Saligny planned and built the first silos in the world made of reinforced concrete, which are preserved today in Constanţa, Brăila and Galaţi. In the port of Constanţa, he created a special pool to allow oil export and two silos for grain export.

Anghel Saligny's most important work was the King Carol I Bridge over the Danube at Cernavodă. Although a public offer had been held by the Romanian government for the erection of a bridge in that location, all projects were found to be subpar and then rejected. Based on his previous experience, Saligny was then selected and given the daunting (at the time) task to draw up the plans for the new structure. Construction work for the bridge started November 26, 1895, in the presence of King Carol I of Romania. The bridge has five openings, with four being 140 m wide, and the central one spanning 190 m. To allow ships to pass under the bridge, it was raised 30 m above the water. The endurance test was performed on the official opening day, when a convoy of locomotives drove on it at 85 km/h. The bridge at Cernavodă measures 4.088 m in length, with 1,662 m over the Danube, and 920 m over the Borcea arm of Danube. At the time, it was the longest bridge in Europe, and the third longest bridge in the world. The structure was famous for its era, competing with Gustave Eiffel's engineering works in France — the Garabit viaduct and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was later renamed Anghel Saligny Bridge, and was not used since 1987, after the construction of a new bridge.

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