One of the highest and largest concrete arch bridges in the world upon its completion in 1912, the Sidi Rached bridge spans the mouth of the deep Rhumel River gorge in the terrace filled city of Constantine, Algeria. No other city on the African continent is more associated with high bridges than Constantine, Algeria. Located about 50 miles (80 kms) from the Mediterranean coast, the city is unique for having a close succession of four classic high bridges cross the deepest section of the river including the El Kantara, Sidi Rached, Sidi M’Cid and Passerelle Perregaux (Mellah Slimane). All are over 328 feet (100 mtrs) in height. The Sidi M’Cid bridge also opened in 1912 and became the highest bridge in the world at 575 feet (175 meters) until the Royal Gorge bridge opened in 1929 in the U.S. state of Colorado.
As impressive as the central arch span is, Sidi Rached is at least as memorable for its length, stretching 1,467 feet (447 mtrs) across the edge of the 328 foot (100 mtr) high plateau. The main span measures 223 feet (68 mtrs) clear or 257 feet (78.3 mtrs) between the upper faces of the abutments. Constructed with a complex timber centring, a highline was set up to transport materials above the deep chasm. A large span on the west end measures 98 feet (30 mtrs) while 27 smaller arches measure 29 feet (8.8 mtrs) between the centerline of the piers. The stone facing is very similar to the 1903 Adolphe bridge in Luxembourg which once held the record as the world’s longest masonry arch bridge at 279 feet (85 mtrs).