Millau Viaduct - Highest Cable-Stayed Bridge
Millau Viaduct, a major landmark in Aveyron
Millau Viaduct is one of the most acclaimed bridges in the world!
Its elegant white silhouette can be seen for miles round.
It showcases the untamed beauty of the Causses high plateaus, many canyons and valleys.
It beautifully stands against the red and ocher soil, scanty vegetation and dark oak forests.
Nature and technology indeed 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 leads to the sunny beaches of the Mediterranean.
However, the city's narrow streets were not adapted to heavy traffic and became quickly saturated.
Their narrowness also increased pollution as carbon dioxide remained trapped between the buildings.
Traffic was on a stand-still and people frustrated!
The construction of the bridge was therefore hailed as a radical solution in order to bypass Millau.
However, the crossing is not mandatory because of the toll and some people still opt for the N9, through Millau.
They have not realized that the undeniable saving of time and fuel easily offsets the toll fee!
The toll fee indeed varies from 7.80€ to 34.80€ depending of the vehicle and season.
A feat of engineering and architecture
It is also a feat of engineering and architectural achievement!
Indeed, construction began early 2002 and lasted only three years.
Seven piers support the 2500m long by 32m wide bridge.
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!
All this required 250 000 tonnes of concrete and 36 000 tonnes of steel.
The highest cable-stayed bridge-road in the world
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, 2004 and opened to traffic 2 days later.
The viaduct is not only a feat of engineering, but also a 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.
Department of Aveyron
Coordinates Millau Viaduct: Lat 44.081376 - Long 3.020749
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