26.10.1827 Biel/CH - 3.12.1884 Bern/CH
Gustave Bridel graduated as an engineer from Ecole des Arts et Métiers, Paris, in 1847. After years as a railroad engineer in France, he returned in 1855 to Switzerland as a railroad expert and in parallel was at the forefront of a large Swiss river engineering project involving the three lakes of the Swiss Jura, namely Lake Neuchâtel, Lake Murten and Lake Biel. He was appointed in 1873 chief engineer of the railways project from the Jura to Berne and to Lucerne. Bridel further was the federal expert for the Gotthard railways project including the 15 km long Gotthard Tunnel finally inaugurated in 1882 as the then longest tunnel worldwide.
Bridel was besides his successful career with railways projects also responsible for one of the largest hydraulic projects in Switzerland. The Jura Region is one of the few Swiss plains potentially considered important in terms of agriculture. However, the Aare River coming from the capital Berne caused significant problems because of inundations. After Berne had sought improvement for decades, Richard La Nicca (1794-1883) finally submitted a project that was accepted by the government in 1843. As previously experienced with the Linth River, Aare River should be discharged into Lake Biel along with a canal to bypass the swampy region between Nidau and Solothurn. Political problems during the following years along with the foundation of modern Switzerland in 1848 delayed works until 1862 when a modified project was submitted. Works finally started in 1868 with Bridel designing the main works. He rested in Biel and there supervised work progress until being called to the Gotthard railways project. During the second Jura waters correction in the 1960s, the original design was improved.
Anonymous (1884). Gustave Bridel. Centralblatt der Bauverwaltung 4(49): 525-526. Bridel, G. (1866). Bericht über die Haslethal-Entsumpfung. Allemann: Bern.
Bridel, G. (1879). Gutachten über die Erweiterung der Basler Wasserversorgung unter Benützung der Soyhières-Quellen. Gassmann: Biel.
Bridel, G. (1952). Bridel. Berner Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Heimatkunde 14: 55-71. P
Kaufmann, R. (2001). Gustave Bridel. Sechs Schweizer Alpenbahningenieure: 55-68.
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La Nicca, R., Bridel, G. (1863). Expertengutachten über die Juragewässer-Correction. Bern. Mathys, E. (1955). Gustave Bridel. Männer der Schiene: 203-208. Kümmerly & Frey: Bern. P Minor, H.-E., Hager, W.H., eds. (2004). Flussbau in der Schweiz. Stäubli: Zürich. P
Peter, A. (1922). Die Juragewässerkorrektion. Horat: Bern.

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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