Millau Viaduct


Millau Viaduct

Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Its shadow crawls across the golden fields of the valley deep below, curving its ways across the tractor lines of the cut hay. Its seven columns are giant’s legs striding across the landscape. This is the Millau bridge.

The tallest bridge in the world, it crosses the Tarn valley using seven elegant concrete piers and a cable stay structure to hold the curvaceous bridge deck up 270m above the ground.
It is an extraordinary feat of engineering by our very own English architect, Norman Foster. It cost 400 million Euro and completes the last link in the A75 Clermont – Ferrand – Beziers motorway. I know how important this is because I have travelled on the motorway before the bridge was opened. The traffic jams in Millau town were terrible. They must be very pleased not to have the traffic invading them. Although if it is too windy, they shut the bridge and they revert to traffic jams down in the town once again.
This is not a bridge. Oh no. This is a viaduct. On a par with any of the Roman viaducts. Driving across it, is an experience. The tall piers stretch up above you and the cables make interesting patterns that change as you make the traverse. You do not get feelings of vertigo, even though the deck is 270m above the valley below because of the shuttering on the sides. You can catch tantalising glimpses of the countryside though and the views are wonderful.
At the north end there is a car park and various viewing points. There is an exhibition, cafe and loos. So all needs are catered for. The best viewing point is a bit of a walk up a zig-zag path but well worth it. It is a good time to watch other people as well and see their reaction to this magnificent feat of engineering.

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