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Millau Viaduct - The Tallest Bridge in the World

written by: Raunekk • edited by: Swagatam • updated: 2/5/2010

The Millau Viaduct is the world's tallest and longest cable bridge in the world. An absolute engineering wonder, Millau Viaduct has supporting pylons which are even taller than the great Eiffel tower. Find out more of such amazing facts about this great civil engineering wonder in the article inside

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    Introduction

    Sometimes a civil engineering wonder is so “out of the world" that one needs to see it to actually believe its existence. Millau Viaduct is one such spectacular engineering wonder that has inspired civil engineers around the world to go for the most impossible of the things.

    Spanning 2.4 kilometers in length, Millau Viaduct is the highest cable stayed road bridge that spans the valley of river Tarn near Millau, connecting the A75 highway from Paris to Barcelona. Moreover, Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge ever built, measuring two hundred and forty five meters above the ground level.

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    Salient features

    Delicate and artistic in looks, Millau Viaduct facilitates its user to complete the journey from one end to other in less than one minute. This highest bridge has been built by the famous British Architect Lord Norman Foster and measures to be taller than the Eiffel Tower.

    Made within the record time of thirty-nine months, Millau Viaduct has total of four lanes, two for each direction. The bridge was built by Eiffage builders with a cost of four hundred Euros. Moreover, the bridge also consists of eighteen cameras located at various locations and six pairs of emergency telephones at every five hundred meters. The construction process involved approximately five hundred workers working simultaneously on the project.

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    Construction

    Building a bridge with such huge dimensions was not an easy task. Moreover, in order to keep the landscape intact, Millau Viaduct was needed to be as delicate and transparent in looks as possible. For this the bridge was given a peculiar design using the least amount of materials, which also made the over all construction less costly.

    The bridge is supported by seven concrete pylons making eight equal sections. Each of this section measures three hundred and forty two meters in length with the two ends sections measuring two hundred and four meters each. The height of the pylons ranges from seventy five meters to two hundred and thirty five meters. The pylons are made with reinforced concrete and have “A" shaped frame to accommodate the expansion and contraction of the steel deck/road. The splitting of the concrete pylons into thin columns makes the structure more flexible and transparent. The A shaped concrete pylons are also used to sling the multi span cables to provide support to the deck road, which is made from steel rather than conventional concrete.

    The deck has been constructed using advanced high grade steel and was pre constructed in two thousand pieces at the bridge builder’s factory. Hydraulic devices from Enerpac were used for lifting and shifting the decks and piers. A total of nineteen thousand tones of steel were used for this process. Moreover, on the both the sides of the bridge a 3 meter wide emergency lane has been provided to prevent the users from seeing the valley from the bridge.

    In order to prevent the bridge from harmful effects of the winds, side screeners are attached on both the sides. The side screeners reduce the wind speed by around fifty percent, protecting not only the bridge but also the drivers. Moreover, the bridge is not straight but has a gentle curve to prevent the drivers from getting the ‘flotation’ feeling due to high speeds.

    On a cloudy day the bridge completely blends with the landscape, satisfying one of the several spectacular traits it has been built with. Currently the longest and bridge in the world, Millau Viaduct has set new standards in designing and construction of bridges, which somehow still seems impossible to achieve.

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