ME and Ophelia

Sunday, December 19, 2004

In the south of France: the Millau Viaduct

The world's highest road bridge has been inaugurated in southern France by President Jacques Chirac. Like Concorde and the Channel Tunnel, the bridge is Franco-British. French construction group Eiffage - that built the Eiffel Tower - financed the project in return for the right to collect receipts from a bridge toll for 75 years.


Designed by British designer Norman Foster and Partners in association with an engineering group led by the French engineer Michel Virlogeux, the Viaduct illustrates how a collaboration between architects and engineers can result in a structure of breathtaking beauty. Although the soaring structure sets a number of records – it is highest viaduct in the world, for example – its beauty lies primarily in its clarity of expression.


The Millau Bridge opened to traffic on Thursday and is 23 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower. Click here for an amazing picture of the Viaduc de Millau.

Cars travelling from Paris to Barcelona will sail over the Tarn valley in southern France at a height of nearly 250 metres, cutting journey times on one of Europe's busiest roads.


The Millau Bridge, now the highest bridge structure in the world, has become a major tourist attraction in its own right. An estimated 10,000 vehicles will use it every day, rising to 25,000 per day at the height of summer. The French government has the right to assume control of the bridge from 2044, if it proves extremely profitable.

Click here for more images and information.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 12/19/2004
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