Millau Viaduct, a feat of engineering
Millau Viaduct is one of the most acclaimed bridges in the world!
This amazing contemporary structure is indeed a giant of steel and concrete.
Its elegant white silhouette can be seen for miles round.
It showcases the untamed beauty of the high plateaus of the Causses and many canyons and valleys.
It beautifully stands against the red and ocher soil, scanty vegetation and dark oak forests.
Nature and modern technology indeed enhance each other in order to create a surprising but perfect harmony.
A viaduct to bypass Millau
The Millau Viaduct supports a section of the A75.
This major motorway know as Méridienne links the cities of Clermont-Ferrand to Béziers.
The construction of the viaduct saved the city of Millau and holidaymakers from nightmarish traffic jams!
Millau is indeed on the N9, the main B road that led to the sunny beaches of the Mediterranean.
However, the old city’s narrow streets were not adapted to heavy traffic and became quickly saturated with cars.
Traffic was on a stand-still and people frustrated!
It also triggered a lot of pollution as the corrupt air was trapped between the buildings and stagnated.
The construction of the bridge was therefore hailed as a radical solution in order to bypass Millau.
However, the crossing is not mandatory as there is a toll.
Some people therefore still opt for the crossing of Millau via the N9.
However, the undeniable saving of time and fuel easily offsets the toll fee for the Millau Viaduct.
The toll fee varies from 7.80€ to 34.80€ depending of the vehicle and season.
The highest cable-stayed bridge-road in the world
Indeed, construction of the 2500m long by 32m wide bridge began early 2002 and lasted only three years.
It involved 250 000 tonnes of concrete and 36 000 tonnes of steel.
Seven piers support this gigantic structure.
As many pylons (87m tall) top it in order to anchor the steel cables that stabilizes the upper part.
The tallest pier (245m) stands obviously at the lowest point of the valley.
Its height added to that of the upper pylon and thickness of the road amount to 343m, namely 19m higher than the Eiffel Tower!
The Millau Viaduct is the highest cable-stayed bridge-road in the world.
However, it was also designed in order to withstand any potential seismic shock and extreme weather conditions.
It was inaugurated on December 14 and opened to traffic on 16th December 2004.
The Millau Viaduct is not only a feat of engineering but also a true masterpiece of contemporary art.
It has become Millau’s major landmark and a prime tourist attraction.
It has also brought public attention to Aveyron, a beautiful but little known region.
You’ll find a viewpoint on the south bank of the Tarn, as you leave Millau.
Coordinates Millau Viaduct: Lat 44.081376 – Long 3.020749