Bridges don’t came any taller than the amazing Millau Viaduct. The deck that carries Autoroute A75 above the Tarn River and valley below is 270 metres high, while the tallest pylon measures in at 343 metres from the ground below to the top of the tower. There are seven towers for the cable-stayed bridge. Work on the bridge started in October of 2001.
During construction, the roadway was made in sections and then pushed out onto the bridge. The Millau Viaduct was opened in December of 2004. The cost of the bridge has been estimated at three hundred million Euros. Autoroute A75 is a road that runs north and south, going from Clermont-Ferrand to Beziers which is near the Mediterranean Sea.
The Millau Viaduct in France is something many people regard as one of the greatest engineering and architectural feats of the last decade. It is the tallest bridge in the world, with the highest point being 1,125ft above the ground. The construction of the bridge itself broke many engineering records and visiting the bridge today gives an idea of the vastness of the project, which is a testament to modern engineering.
While the bridge obviously is there to serve a practical purpose (to span the valley of the river Tam) it is also something that is worth going out of your way to see. There is also a small visitors centre where information about the construction of the bridge is available. This is located underneath the viaduct and is worth visiting before anything else as it will give you some fascinating insights into the construction of the viaduct.
One of the best ways to appreciate the viaduct is to make the journey across the valley as if it were not there. This will mean that you get some spectacular views of the bridge from the ground. You will also find the journey may take you more than four hours. Don’t worry though, once you make it to the other side you will be able to take the bridge back and still make it back to the hotel with plenty of time for dinner!
You may be put off by driving for four hours, or you simply might not have the time to do this. It is by no means essential to travel the whole way, though it will help to give you an idea of why the bridge was constructed.
Travelling over the bridge is a thrilling experience. The sheer height of the viaduct cannot fail to impress any driver. If you read up a bit about the bridge before you go, you will be all the more impressed.
The bridge alone is a good enough reason to travel to this part of France, but do not feel that this is all there is to do in the region. The area surrounding the bridge is famous for its Roquefort cheese and has numerous world class restaurants. If you have come to stay in the region for several days you will be able to find hotels that have rooms overlooking this monument to engineering.
The Millau Viaduct is located west of Millau. Things to see around Millau include the rivers, gorges, caves and forests while Millau is famous for its glove industry and the Millau Museum houses displays about that part of its history. The museum also has items from Roman times, as the area where Millau presently stands was once a Gallo-Roman village.