Millau Viaduct, France

Millau Viaduct, France   Facebook share

 

 The Millau Viaduct (French: le Viaduc de Millau, is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the valley of the River Tarn near Millau in southern France.

 
Designed by the French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Norman Foster, it is the tallest bridge in the world with one mast's summit at 343.0 metres (1,125 ft) above the base of the structure. It is the 12th highest bridge deck in the world, being 270 metres (890 ft) between the road deck and the ground below. The Millau Viaduct is part of the A75-A71 autoroute axis from Paris to Béziers and Montpellier. The cost of construction was approximately €400 million. It was formally inaugurated on 14 December 2004, and opened to traffic on 16 December. The bridge has been consistently ranked as one of the great engineering achievements of all time.  The bridge received the 2006 International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering Outstanding Structure Award.
 
History 
Because of problems with traffic on the route from Paris to Spain along the stretch passing through the Tarn valley near the town of Millau, leading to congestion in the summer from holiday traffic, construction of a bridge to span the valley was required.  The first plans were discussed in 1987 by CETE, and by October 1991, the decision was made to build a high crossing of the Tarn River by a structure of around 2,500 m (8,200 ft). During 1993–1994 the government consulted with seven architects and eight structural engineers. During 1995–1996, a second definition study was made by five associated architect groups and structural engineers. In January 1995, the government issued a declaration of public interest to solicit design approaches for a competition. 
 
In July 1996, the jury decided in favour of a cable-stayed design with multiple spans, as proposed by the Sogelerg consortium (Michel Virlogeux and Norman Foster). The decision to proceed by grant of contract was made in May 1998; then in June 2000 the contest for the construction contract was launched, open to four consortia. In March 2001 Eiffage established the subsidiary Compagnie Eiffage du Viaduc de Millau (CEVM) and was declared winner of the contest and awarded the prime contract in August.

 



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