Millau Viaduct. France
The Millau Viaduct (le Viaduc de Millau) is the highest cable-stayed bridge in the world. This huge construction with length of almost 2.5 km was officially opened on 14 December 2004 by French President Jacques Chirac. The bridge passes through the valley of the River Tarn near Millau, southern France.
The creators of the bridge are not less famous than their “offspring”. Author of the project and construction manager is a French engineering company Eiffage (French engineer Michel Virlogeux and English architect Noman Foster). By the way the workshops of Gustav Eiffel, who built the Eiffel Tower, are also part of this group.
The Millau Viaduct is the highest transport bridge in the world. It exceeds the height of the Eiffel Tower by 20 meters – one of its pillars has a height of 341 m; and it is only 40 m lower than the Empire State Building in New York. The fact that the bridge rises above the ground by 270 m in its highest point makes it also the highest road surface in the world.
For the first time the idea of the bridge was considered as far back as 1987. The construction was conducted long enough, for about 13 years. The point is that this region is famous for severe climatic and geological conditions – strong winds and specific terrain of the valley of the River Tarn hampered the work.
The total length of the bridge Millau Viaduct is 2.46 kilometers, the width – 32 meters. The bridge stands on 7 pillars, each of which in its turn stands in 4 wells with diameter of 5 meters and 15 meters in depth. The roadway has a weight of 36,000 tons and has 8 spans. The total weight of the concrete structures amounts 206,000 tons.
The bridge owns three world records: the height of the pylon with the pillar reaches 343 meters; the highest roadway in the world – 270 meters above the ground; the highest bridge pillars in the world with height of 244.96 and 221.05 meters.
The creators of the bridge give a guarantee for 120 years. As a whole, the construction of the viaduct took 400 million euros.