Highest, longest : the Viaduct de Millau | France
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the Viaduc de Millau, over the River Tarn, is 2.5 km long
road sign, approach to
Viaduc de Millau




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highest, longest :
Viaduct de Millau

 

Le plus long, le plus haut : le Viaduc de Millau


Viaduct de Millau on the A75, motorways/autoroutes of France

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index
the viaduc de Millau
Millau and its region
visiting the viaduct
structural statistics
further links
the Baluarte Bridge, Mexico
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the Viaduc de Millau, looking south. Image credit: abelard.org
the Viaduc de Millau, looking south

Inaugurated on the 14th December 2004, tallest in the world and taller than the Eiffel Tower, slung across the valley of the river Tarn, the Viaduct de Millau (Viaduc de Millau) is the chosen solution for taking the A75 motorway from Clermont-Ferraud south to Beziers. This is cheaper than the alternative of tunnelling through the hills flanking the river, and will shorten the journey by 100 km and by up to 4 hours in the holiday season, as well as removing much traffic pollution caused by continual traffic jams for local inhabitants in Millau. The Millau Viaduct is currently the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world. It has a steel deck, rather than the more usual concrete roadbed.

The bridge is now sometimes being used for extreme sports such as base jumping or rapelling.

view from the road deck, Viaduct de Millau
view from the road deck

pillar detail, from approach to viewing point
pillar detail, from approach to viewing point
detail of deck/pillar joint
detail of deck/pillar joint

detail of one end of the Viaduc de Millau
detail of one end of the Viaduc
an optical illusion
an optical illusion with the nearest pillars
shadow of the Viaduc on the Tarn valley
shadow of the Viaduc on the Tarn valley

 

Millau and its region

This new bridge, opened on the 14th December 2004, replaces the bridge crossing the River Tarn in the centre of the town of Millau. Near the bridge is a permanent visitors’centre with stunning views of the bridge and across the valley which it spans.

View of the Tarn valley, with the town of Millau, from the north end of the Viaduct de Millau. Image credit: abelard.org
view of the Tarn valley, with the town of Millau,
from the north end of the Viaduct de Millau [the Viaduct is behind viewer]

Millau has a population of slightly more than 22,000 people, and has recently recruited two extra staff at the Tourist Office to help with queries about their new landmark. Millau used to be the centre of leather manufacture in France. Millau continues to be an shopping centre for leather goods, including gloves. You can, for instance, visit the l'Atelier gantier, 21 rue Droite (not far from the Tourist Office) and buy a pair of locally designed, hand-made and hand-sewn ladies’ leather or suede gloves for about 45 euro and upwards, in one of umpteen colours. Some of the designs are ultra-chic and even extraordinary.

As well as sections on gallo-roman history and geology, the Millau Museum has a section on leather-making and the craft of glove-making. The link above gives their address and information on opening times and guided visits.

 

visiting the viaduct

The viewing point for the Viaduc de Millac, together with the visitors’s centre, is now accessible in both directions using slip roads from the A75.

Aire for the viaduc de Millau. Image: routes.wikia.com
Aire for the viaduc de Millau. Image: routes.wikia.com

From here, there is access to both the exhibition centre [open from 9am to 7pm, last entry is at 6.30pm] and the viewing point, both on the eastern side of the motorway. The viewing point is approximately 30 minutes walk away uphill, but the climb is very steep in places, and is unmetalled. There are some benches on the way with good views over the valley towards Millau. This viewing point has now been ‘formalised’ with a low concrete surround.

 

Structural statistics

  • 17 December 2004 : Opening of bridge to traffic
    (15 December 2004 : Inauguration)
  • 22,650,000 vehicles have used the Viaduct de Millau in its first five years of service.
  • 10 October 2001 : Construction work started
  • 343 m : Height at top of pylons
  • 280 m / 919 ft: Height of roadway over the Tarn
  • 2,460 m / 1.55 miles: Total length of roadway
  • 8 spans resting on 7 piers
    • span widths: 204 m between abutments and first and last piers
    • 342 m spans between remaining piers
  • 2230 tonnes : Weight of each of the 16 sections of road-deck. Each section is built up from 60 tonne deck-units, each 4 m wide by 17 m long. The deck-units are built in Eiffel’s factories at Lauterbourg and Fos-sur-Mer.
  • Heights of the 7 piers :
    P1 : 94.50 m
    P2 : 244.96 m
    P3 : 221.05 m
    P4 : 144.21 m
    P5 : 136.42 m
    P6 : 111.94 m
    P7 : 77.56 m
  • 97 m : Height of the 7 pylons
    each pylon is in the form of an inverted Y. The height of the legs of each Y is 38m.
  • 154 : Number of stays supporting the road-deck from the pylons
  • 36,000 tonnes : Total weight of roadbed’s steel structure
    (5 times that of the Eiffel tower)
  • 19,000 tonnes : Steel used for reinforcing the concrete piers
  • 5,000 tonnes : Steel used for the stays and cables
  • Type of deck : steel orthotropic (orthogonally anisotropic)
  • 4.20 m : Thickness of steel road-deck
  • 32.05 m : Width of road-deck
  • 205,000 tonnes : Concrete
  • 85,000 m3 : Total volume of concrete
  • 3% (approximately) : Slope (for safety, to enable better visibility)
  • 9,000 tonnes : Road tarmac - specially flexible bitumen laid to 6 cm thickness
  • 4,000 tonnes : Standard bitumen for the emergency strips on either side
  • 520 workers
  • 300 million euro : Cost. The cost has finished at half the anticipated estimate.
    (plus 20 million euro for the toll station 6 km from the bridge’s North end).
  • 120 years : Predicted lifespan
  • Architect: Norman Foster, in collaboration with French bridge engineer Michel Virlogeux
  • Constructor: Eiffage Group. Their website has a number of short web films on the bridge as construction progresses and an animation of the bridge in use. (Note: commentaries in French.)
  • Paris-Clermont-Ferrand-Béziers : The Viaduc de Millau will complete this north-south motorway through the heart of France, crossing the Massif Central.

  • Tolls - again, the tolls increase on 1st February 2013, up by 4%
    vehicle type off-season July, August
    car 7.00€ 8.90€
    car+caravan 10.50€ 13.30€
    small lorry/van 24.40€ 24.40€
    hgv 32.40€ 32.40€
    motor bike 4.40€ 4.40€
    The rest of the 340 km A75 autoroute is free.
    The toll barrier has been increased to 18 gates. In winter, about 4,500 vehicles pass in a day; in summer, it’s about 50,000.
    Many local commuters are no longer taking the Millau Viaduct route because of the expense.

  • Constructed for the A75 motorway (autoroute) - the Méridienne. The weblink provided is to the English version of the motorway company’s “complete file”, which details the original planning for the route taken and for the final choice of bridge structure (includes maps, photos and diagrams).

Viaduc de Millau, the highest, longest road bridge - an artist's impression. Image credit: A75.com
image credit: A75.com

further links

Viaduct de Millau under construction. Image credit: http://www.structurae.de
image credit: structurae.de

original diagram image credit: otua.org

  • Astrosurf : A French astronomy site, giving recent photographs of the Viaduct de Millau taken from a distance, and of two nearby aires under construction. As astronomers, the website owners are concerned about potential light pollution. [Site in French.]

 

the Baluarte Bridge, Mexico

Baluarte Bridge, Mexico cross-section. Image: imageshack.us
Baluarte Bridge, Mexico cross-section. Image: imageshack.us

Inaugurated by Mexico’s President Calderón on 5 January 2012, this bridge now eclipses the Millau Viaduct as the cable spanned bridge with world’s highest road deck. The main span has a clearance of 402 metres below it, in comparison with the 280 metres of the Viaduc de Millau.

The Baluarte Bridge is much shorter than the Viaduc de Millau, only spanning 1,124 m (3,688 ft) in total, with the cable-stayed section being 520 m (1,710 ft) long. Costing MXN2bn (£93m), the project construction was carried out by a consortium consisting of Tradeco, Idinsa and Corey and VSL México.

The Baluarte Bridge is expected to be completed by the end of January 2012, and to open at the end of that year. It is located on the Durango-Mazatlan highway, between the municipalities of Concordia in Sinaloa and Pueblo Nuevo in Durango.



 

 

 

 


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