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Pont Du Gard Aqueduct

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The reason for the disparity in gradients along the aqueduct's route is that a uniform gradient would have meant that the Pont du Gard would have been infeasibly high, given the limitations of the technology of the time. By varying the gradient along the route, the aqueduct's engineers were able to lower the height of the bridge by 6 metres (20 ft) to 48. 77 metres (160. 0 ft) above the river – still exceptionally high by Roman standards, but within acceptable limits. This height limit governed the profile and gradients of the entire aqueduct, but it came at the price of creating a "sag" in the middle of the aqueduct. The gradient profile before the Pont du Gard is relatively steep, descending at 0. 67 metres (2 ft 2 in) per kilometre, but thereafter it descends by only 6 metres (20 ft) over the remaining 25 kilometres (16 mi). In one section, the winding route between the Pont du Gard and St Bonnet required an extraordinary degree of accuracy from the Roman engineers, who had to allow for a fall of only 7 millimetres (0. 28 in) per 100 metres (330 ft) of the conduit.

Stonework on the Pont du Gard, showing the protruding blocks that were used to support the scaffolding


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