French Millau Viaduct – Amazing Bridge

Email forward with an attached photograph of a very high bridge includes information about the bridge’s construction and location (Full commentary below.)


Subject: Fw: The French Millau viaduct project.


An engineering and architectural marvel! Just imagine it took them just 39 months to complete such a difficult feat.

Can’t remember off hand, but there was a really good documentary on the construction of it on Discovery or TLC a month or so ago. It’s located in southern France, and is the highest bridge in the world. See: for details of location and construction.

It is a truly amazing piece of engineering, especially considering the method used to span the distance between the piers. Between the red towers you see in the photo were removed following completion of the bridge. Be sure to maximize your screen for this. They haven’t printed enough money to pay me to drive across this bridge!!

Detailed Analysis:
The bridge shown in the photograph above is real. The image depicts the Millau Viaduct, a cable-stayed bridge that crosses the Tarn River valley near the southern French town of Millau. A Wikipedia entry about the bridge includes the following information:

Designed by British master-architect Lord Foster in collaboration with French bridge engineer Michel Virlogeux, it is the tallest vehicular bridge in the world, with one pier’s summit at 341 metres (1,118 ft)-slightly higher than the Eiffel Tower and only 40 m (132 ft) shorter than the Empire State Building.

As the photograph shows, the viaduct is curved. An article on the Road Traffic Technology website explains the reasons why the bridge is not straight:

Intriguingly, the Millau Viaduct is not straight. A straight road could induce a sensation of floating for drivers, which a slight curve remedies. The curve is 20km in range. Moreover, the road has a light incline of 3% to improve the visibility and reassure the driver.

Construction began on the bridge in October 2001. The Millau Viaduct was opened for traffic in December 2004.

Wikipedia: Millau Viaduct
Road Traffic Technology: MILLAU VIADUCT, FRANCE
Viaduct de Millau
Structurae: Millau Viaduct (2004)